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Marvin Bagley to Duke: What Does It Mean For UK?

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

In case you hadn’t heard high school basketball phenom Marvin Bagley III committed to the Duke Blue Devils Basketball team. He also reclassified from the 2018 to the 2017 class so he would be playing this year. That news immediately vaulted Duke to the preseason No.1 spot in the polls.

What does it mean for Duke and also what does it mean for Kentucky? Let’s look.

For Duke it means that they will be preseason No.1 heading into the season and the favorite to win the National Title. How has that situation worked out for Duke in the past? Since 1985 – when the NCAA Tournament expanded – Duke has been preseason No.1 seven times. Those teams have won one National Championship during those seven seasons. Three of the seven times they made the Final Four. Not such an impressive record.

Kentucky has been preseason No.1 three times since 1985. UK has a National Title in 1996, a Runner-Up in 2014 and a Final Four in 2015. Pretty effective finishes for the teams that were preseason No.1 at Kentucky.

With all that being said it looks like being Preseason No.1 is generally a great honor but for the Duke Blue Devils maybe not so much. If you only make it to the Final Four less than fifty per cent of the time when you are ranked as preseason No.1 it might be better to have Bagley go somewhere else and take your chances ranked as the No.2 team. Either way – borrowing from our horse racing heritage – I like UK’s chances coming from off the pace and finishing at the wire.


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  1. I honestly don’t think it means anything for UK! In my opinion, we have a quality team even though they are young. I know we will be fine regardless and at the end of the day teams still have to play the games! We will be fine as I have no doubt otherwise.


  2. 8 years ago, the BBN craved for someone to come lead this program back to relevancy. No final 4 in 11 seasons, recruiting quality was down overall, and the program was at risk of falling from its newly established position of mediocrity into worse with Gillispie leading the way.

    Then along comes John Calipari, and he puts the UK basketball program back on the national stage immediately with Wall, Cousins and Bledsoe. He has maintained that national stature ever since and he has done this with non-stop, great recruiting. His choice of players, not just for their basketball acumen and skill but for their personal characteristics, has been the key to this success.

    So, what does Bagley mean to UK? Absolutely nothing. Coach Calipari will have his team in the chase come March this season, as he will next, and the next, and so life goes.

  3. I am worried about UK’s football season upon us not what Bagley did or didn’t do. It’s football time in the Bluegrass! Much to do about nothing IMO. Let the guy go where he chooses, and play for the Devils, who cares? I am more concerned about the NCAA apparently letting UNC skate for their apparent academic fraud that is still not resolved after all these many months, years, etc. A double standard? I It appears so. Very unfair for all schools who have been penalized for less infractions. Very sad.

    1. Larry pup, If I’m right the NCAA fraction board was supposed to discussed this with N.Carolina this week.

      1. Cats79, you are correct in that the NCAA infractions board is to meet with UNC today and tomorrow I think.


        1. Long overdue, and nothing will be done. Just because they meet means very little to me based on the charges. What has taken so long is the big question. If this had been UK we would already be experiencing the death penalty. I say they let UNC skate.

  4. Skyzoo5, it will be interesting what comes out of this !!

    1. I truly believe had it been UK under these allegations, the death penalty would have already been enforced. I hate to say that, but it’s true and it will be interesting the precedent the NCAA will set regarding the punishment or lack of punishment handed down to U of L and UNC.

  5. The NCAA is in the process of stripping the UL title and final four appearance. Yes, UL is appealing, but the criteria to overturn this enforcement action is very high, and I seriously do not see any abuse of discretion by the NCAA COI that would result in UL winning its appeal on the major penalties, perhaps at the edges.

    As for UNCCHeaters, time will tell, but there are some in the UNC camp that are concerned.

    I hope that the NCAA does the right thing with this enforcement action like they are doing with UL. Time will tell, and the amount of time left on that one is becoming finite. You say the NCAA COI and UNCCHeaters are meeting this week.
    I admit that my confidence that UNCCHeaters would be penalized appropriately had waned from my long held belief that the NCAA has a Hobson’s choice. Either they enforce the NCAA rules or they do not. If they don’t enforce their rules, their purpose and reason for being has been eliminated by their own choice, yet if they enforce their rules against UNCCHeaters, they must inflict public shame (and more) upon the very program they have not only protected for decades but have held up as the shining star in the sky for others to emulate. From the NCAA’s point of view, neither option is desirable.

    While my confidence has fallen, I still hold the view that in the end, the NCAA will bite the UNCCHeater bullet and invoke sanctions by declaring certain players ineligible and ordering the vacation of certain wins. The reason I am optimistic is the NCAA’s issuance of new notice of violations after it appeared the fix was in. It has been this last action by the NCAA that has the UNCCHeater faction so worried.
    Now that the NCAA has bitten the bullet of taking away a championship trophy, it has little choice but to treat UNCCHeaters equally on the title front. With respect to sanctioning Roy Williams directly, the NCAA can draw a distinction in their situation from Pitino’s in that the system was in place when dear Ol’ Roy arrived, and was institutionalized, thus an excuse for not suspending him personally.

    My belief is strengthened by two events of the past year. I believe the NCAA was prepared, and ready to white wash the UNCCHeater situation following its second NOI and the UNC denials. However, then UL’s situation hit the NCAA right between their eyes, and the NCAA Committee on infractions added that SEC Commissioner to their membership, and the NCAA without any warning issued their 3rd NOI. UNCCHeaters were completely caught off guard by that 3rd NOI, and never saw it coming. They believed the fix was in too.

    Time will tell whether the widely held view (majority view) or my view is closer to reality, but that time is getting shorter by the day, and this will be resolved within the next few months.
    The UNCCHeater enforcement action has taken much too long to occur. From the UNC view, it has left a cloud of wrongdoing hanging over their pristine program unfairly, and from the view of the rest of the sports world, it has allowed UNC to avoid judgment day, perhaps forever. Part of the delay has been caused by reluctance at the NCAA to pursue the facts before them and to buy into the UNC excuses and rationalizations. Then the Charlotte newspaper generated enough attention on the matter to get the spot light of the national press on the situation, at which time, the NCAA came to understand that ignoring the issue and allowing it to just go away was no longer an option.

    UNC has caused most of the delays with their obstructionist tactics, including finding “new evidence” just prior to an anticipated NCAA report from its infractions committee. Then the NCAA tried to latch onto the “this is not an athletics issue but a broader academic issue” argument against enforcement by the NCAA, and UNC sighed, eased back to wait on the report. But then something happened that no one expected. UL’s scandal broke wide open, and the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions composition changed in a way that was less likely to give UNC or UL simply a wink and a nod.

    The NCAA decided to deny Louisville’s similar obstructionist and denial tactics from Jurich, Pitino, and UL, and we saw an NCAA conclusion willing to strip a prominent program of a NCAA championship. The timing of this outcome is not insignificant in my view, and it had to occur prior to resolving the UNC matter because of the title stripping penalty and as a signal that the NCAA is changing with regard to its enforcement.

    Time will tell how this plays out, but it will play out soon. I think UNC will one day reflect on this entire process and conclude they would have been better served taking their medicine several years ago rather than force all of these delays that have propelled their situation into the national spotlight in a more vigorous NCAA regime.

    1. With you Professor. Great post here

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