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Published on Mar 30, 2012
NCAA FINAL FOUR 2012 // LOUISVILLE and KENTUCKY // OHIO STATE and KANSAS
This year's Final Four brings together an ensemble of big-name schools, all saddled with their typically big-time issues -- a reminder that everything in college sports is not as pure as the NCAA and its "student-athletes" would like us to believe.
In the national semifinals Saturday, Kentucky plays Louisville and Ohio State meets Kansas. All the schools have made headlines for a variety of off-the-court reasons over the last several months, including the proliferation of one-and-done players, stories about coaches in courtrooms and a handful of financial misdeeds involving recruits, players, coaches and even ticket managers.
And so, while there are no little vs. big stories this year -- the way tiny Butler or overlooked VCU beat the odds last season to make it to basketball's pinnacle -- we're regaled with tall tales of redemption and resurrection: Teams and coaches that overcame their problems and got everyone thinking about basketball instead of the underside of a business driven by a $10.8 billion TV contract.
"There are a lot of good players out there who are performing right now," Kentucky coach John Calipari said.
For his part, Calipari is perfecting the art of luring a player for one, maybe two seasons, to contend for a championship, then saying a guilt-free goodbye. During his more candid moments, he'll tell you he's no fan of the rule that allows players to leave college after a single year. But it's out of his hands. It's the NBA that put in the rule stating players must be 19 before they can enter the draft.