Observations: Kentucky’s John Calipari to the Nets would be nuts

John Calipari to the Nets makes no sense.

The only way it should ever be considered for Calipari to entertain leaving Kentucky is if he had total control of an NBA franchise along with the chance to compete for a title.

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And if there’s one thing that’s certain with Brooklyn it’s that it won’t be competing for a title anytime soon let alone a playoff berth.

TheNets don’t have a first-round pick in 2016 or 2018 and have to flip-flop their first-round pick in 2017 due to an old trade with the Boston Celtics.

Why would a Hall-of-Famer leave Rupp Arena for that situation?

Money would be one answer.

A Yahoo report on Monday morning surfaced where Calipari’s asking price would be $12 million annually to be both an NBA team’s head coach and general manager.

My response to that?

People in Calipari’s circle have always said that he’s a better businessman than he is a basketball coach and you better believe that if he’s making close to $8 million dollars a year now at Kentucky an offer of $12 million from an NBA team will push his salary in Lexington closer to $10 million after a new contract is done probably sometime in the spring.

Five more reasons why it makes zero sense to entertain Brooklyn?

De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Wenyen Gabriel, Bam Adebayo, and Sacha Killeya-Jones.

Those are the five highly rated high school seniors that are committed to Kentucky for next season in what could wind up being the most talented recruiting class Calipari has ever assembled.

And that’s not even counting the players on the Wildcats’ roster who may return to school following this year.

You think he wants to give up the chance to coach that team just because Little Italy is closer to Brooklyn than it is to Lexington?

Me neither.

West Virginia can prove it’s a Big 12 title contender Tuesday against Kansas: This is the start of a huge week for the Mountaineers who host the top-ranked Jayhawks on Tuesday in Morgantown, West Virginia before heading to Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday to face Oklahoma.

West Virginia has quietly started out the season with a 14-1 record with its only defeat coming at the hands of Virginia on a neutral court. Yet when people talk about the top teams in the Big 12 they rarely talk about Bob Huggins’ squad.

That can change starting Tuesday.

The Mountaineers do not boast the pedigree of Kansas, the sizzle of Oklahoma, or the explosiveness of Iowa State, but they do possess all of the intangible qualities that go into winning.

West Virginia has attempted 105 free throws and grabbed a combined 43 offensive rebounds in its first three Big 12 games — it’s not trying score style points.

This team is rugged, hungry, and determined to prove it belongs when people talk about the Big 12’s elite.

Tuesday the Mountaineers will get that chance.

There’s not a lot of noise outside of the major conferences in college basketball: We’re still probably six weeks away from having legitimate NCAA bubble discussions, but one thing that can’t be denied is the lack of production outside of the major leagues in college basketball.

The power-five conferences along with the Big East have all done their part to make hay, but leagues like the American, Atlantic 10, and Mountain West have not.

SMU — the best team in the American Conference — is ineligible for the postseason and the next two best teams in this league — UConn and Cincinnati — are having good, but not great seasons.

The Atlantic 10 meanwhile looks like a hodgepodge at the top after its top two teams — George Washington and Dayton — suffered losses to Saint Louis and La Salle in the past week.

UNLV had two big wins early over Indiana and Oregon, but the Runnin’ Rebels have started out Mountain West play with an 0-3 record and shown little reason to believe that they’re capable of dealing with prosperity — especially after Dave Rice was removed as coach on Sunday. No other team in this conference has done much to separate itself in terms of potentially getting an at-large bid down the line.

What does all of this mean?

With the level of depth in the Pac-12, Big 12, and ACC at an all-time high look for most of the at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament to come from power conferences and not ancillary leagues like the American, Atlantic 10, or Mountain West.

There’s going to be a lot of teams that came into this season with high expectations that will need to win their conference tournament in March to earn a trip to the field of 68.

This Just In

  • Dayton’s Kendall Pollard (achilles) is still day-to-day, Archie Miller told CBS Sports. His status for tonight’s game against Davidson is TBD. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.

John Calipari (USATSI)
Kentucky’s John Calipari has plenty of reasons to stay in Lexington, Kentucky. (USATSI)

This and That

  • Oklahoma’s Jordan Woodard has made incredible offensive strides this season. The 6-foot junior is averaging 15.2 points while shooting 48.3 percent and a blistering 55.6 percent from 3-point range. Last season as a sophomore Woodard averaged 9.3 points while shooting just 36.1 percent and 25.4 percent from long distance.
  • How balanced is USC? The Trojans’ top six scorers are all averaging between 10.8 points and 12.9 points this season and five of those six players are shooting 39.5 percent or better from 3-point range. This team has balance, depth, and the ability to score the basketball. USC is currently averaging 84.0 points as a team.
  • New Mexico has quietly won three consecutive games after losing three straight tilts at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii. Craig Neal’s team is 10-6 heading into Tuesday’s game at UNLV — the first game the Runnin Rebels will play without Dave Rice as head coach. Tipoff is at 10 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.
  • Illinois junior Kendrick Nunn has the β€œit” factor. The 6-3 guard is averaging 19.3 points over his last three Big Ten games and had 22 points in Sunday’s upset win over Purdue. Nunn is a crafty wing who knows how to use angles well. This is an underrated player nationally.
  • Miami has done an unbelievable job recently defending the 3-point line. The Hurricanes’ opponents have only shot 22.7 percent from 3-point range during their last seven games. Miami’s opponents shot 41.4 percent from long distance in its first seven games of the season. Jim Larranaga’s squad plays at Virginia on Tuesday in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • The big difference this season with Villanova’s Josh Hart is his ability to hit the glass. The 6-5 junior has a combined 21 rebounds in his past two games and is averaging 7.1 boards. Hart only averaged 4.5 rebounds last season. He’s also leading Villanova (14-2) in scoring at 15.9 points.
  • Things are about to get real for Texas. The Longhorns are 9-6 overall heading into Tuesday’s game against Iowa State in Austin and then will host Oklahoma State later in the week before back-to-back road games at West Virginia and Kansas. Shaka Smart’s team has to do something with these opportunities if it wants to be an NCAA Tournament caliber team.
  • Two former high-major players — Jeremy Hollowell (Indiana) and Kevin Ware (Louisville) — are currently Georgia State’s top two scorers. Ron Hunter’s team is 10-3 overall and should be in the mix for an automatic bid out of the Sun Belt along with UT-Arlington and Arkansas-Little Rock.
  • Rutgers’ next five Big Ten games are as follows: at Ohio State, Purdue, Iowa, at Michigan, at Michigan State. The Scarlet Knights have lost their first four conference games by an average of 22.0 points. It hasn’t been a fun winter thus far in Piscataway, New Jersey.
  • How difficult is the ACC? Florida State, NC State, and Syracuse have a combined conference record of 0-10. That’s amazing considering some of the talent on those rosters.

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