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Sunday Conversation: Andrew Harrison Edition

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One thing apparently slipped past the national media this week, but that didn't keep us from dwelling on it.

"This guy is sportsing better than me, I should say something awful about him."
"This guy is sportsing better than me, I should say something awful about him."
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Brad: Can someone explain to me how Andrew Harrison is going to skate after what he said last night? Not only was he extremely vulgar on live television, he used the most loaded racial epithet in the history of our nation. I listened to the radio on the way home and they mentioned it a bit, but that was all. Was it too late at night? Was it because it was UK? How on earth is this not every headline right now?

I'll keep going. Imagine if Kaminsky had said that about Harrison. In addition to UK fans burning their own town down like the classy people they are, they'd be calling for a suspension for at least half a season. Harrison should be out for no fewer than five games. You simply cannot, cannot, cannot ever say that. Ever. It's a deplorable word and no amount of mealy mouthed "it was in jest" non-apologies should cover for it.

Bryan: It was "a poor choice of words" as Harrison himself said, but the graceless nature with which they took the loss is a big deal to me. 67 teams lose in this thing every year and almost all of them handle it like Mack, Dee, and Stainbrook did: they bemoan their missed chances, congratulate their opponents, put on the stiff upper lip and move on. The act of mumbling derogatory something under your breath about your opponent is both cowardly and disgusting. It is bogus to be that poor of a loser on this big of a stage and I don't care what he says, when you lose that game in that fashion, you aren't making a joke twenty minutes later. He meant it and it was ridiculous.

Joel: It's indicative and symptomatic of the attitude they carried into it, i.e., that it was their tournament and the other 67 teams were there playing for the right to lose on Coronation Day. Frank Kaminsky - in Harrison's eyes, though I thought he had plenty of help - ruined that for them, ergo... yeah. What a petulant thing to say.
That was obviously the culmination of the peak schadenfreude moment of the tournament, but I think we've each got enough Cleveland in us to have found other times to derive our joy from the sorrow of others.

Murray State losing two rounds into the NIT was it for me. We've had enough interaction with their fan base to know how classless it is, and Cam Payne carried himself like an obnoxious punk during their conference tournament before washing out against Belmont. To listen to everyone and his mum - including the Murray State coach, quite publicly - gripe about how the committee did them dirty only to see them fail to get to MSG in the NIT was sweet. If you want in, earn it during the season or your conference tournament. Otherwise, keep your gob shut and take your medicine like an adult.

Brad: Not to be too persecuted, but where is the outcry that happened when Tu said "gangsta"? Our guys got pilloried for using a word that carries no intellectual or historical weight. By that standard, Harrison should be the lead story on every news network from now until Memorial Day. Much like the fight, this should get mentioned every time he so much as looks at a microphone. Will it though? Of course not, because the same group of slobbering media ingrates that tore into Xavier sucks at the teat of UK for every tired story they can get.Because God forbid we say something negative about UK and Coach Cal ("oh, he's insightful and also hilarious. Succeed and proceed? What a genius") might limit access to his next crop of free agent signings. For a man who has cheated quite literally everywhere he goes, he seems to have maintained an Orwellian control over the media.

Expounding on that: the only people not fluffing this UK team were the UK fans too busy inventing false narratives against them. No major writer or pundit said a negative thing about them all year, but UK fans invented this "we're ruining college basketball" story that they then spread amongst themselves. It got to the point that they treated one of their players walking to class in the rain as if the Messiah Himself had arrived. God knows no other college basketball players attend classes except when the weather is perfect. This season was the perfect storm of an entitled and dimwitted fan base and an incredibly arrogant team.

They failed. They talked National Championship and 40-0 all year long, and then they choked when it mattered. After rolling through a weak SEC they scraped by Notre Dame and then lost to Wisconsin when it counted. How did they react? By stringing together the two most heinous words in the English language and watching a quivering media pack let them off the hook. Nothing but institutional cowardice all around.

Joel: Do you need someone to talk to about this or maybe just in general? I feel like there's a subtext here.
Has Calipari left a string of vacated years behind him? Yes. Does Willie Cauley-Stein do things every game that Jalen would get teched for? Yes. Did Harrison utter vulgarity but somehow come away not just unscathed but with the media making excuses for him? Yes.

Here's what I saw: UK confirmed what we had suspected about them all year. Up against a team they couldn't run past and jump over, they were unable to basketball their way through. Towns was eating on the post; they didn't have the discipline to feed him. Harrison, Harrison, and Lyles each passed up open jumpers to drive into trouble and earn shot clock violations down the stretch. Calipari wasn't enough of a coach to get them to do anything that worked on offense.

Then Lyles slapped a dude in the face for no conceivable basketball reason, Cauley-Stein walked off at the horn, and Harrison pouted out an obscenity in response to a question that just needed some "good player, good game" platitudes and wasn't even directed to him.
Sometimes the world is ugly and good goes unrewarded and Greg Oden doesn't get an intentional foul called. Other times God smiles on the eve of Resurrection Sunday and punks go out like punks. Be happy; we got to verify what we hoped was true all along. No amount of media open-mouth kisses to Big Blue Nation can take that away from you.

Speaking of things that can't be taken away, is it me or has Duke kind of floated beneath the hate radar this year? With so much focus on hating UK and hoping they don't go 40-0, I had almost forgotten how much to hate Duke. It's only now with UK out that I can give them my focus.