Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ashley Judd prefers John Calipari

Ashley Judd was profiled recently by the New York Times.
Having just attentively watched Kentucky Coach John Calipari’s postgame news conference after his team’s 90-60 blowout of Wake Forest on Saturday night, the Wildcats super fan Ashley Judd was already game-planning for the round of 16.

With top-seeded Kentucky (34-2) was set to face the winner of Sunday’s game between No. 12 seed Cornell (28-4) and No. 4 Wisconsin (24-8) in the East Region on Thursday in Syracuse, she asked a Wildcats official which team Kentucky would rather play. He told her that Cornell was the preferred opponent because it is difficult for a team to comeback if they fall behind early to Wisconsin, which plays a slow and deliberate style. (Cornell defeated Wisconsin, 87-69.)[...]

Afterward, Judd raved about Calipari and what he has accomplished this season in his first year at Kentucky.

“He’s perfect for Kentucky,” she said. “He has a personality as big as our program. It’s a really good fit. We love him.”

Judd was not nearly as fond of his predecessor, Billy Gillispie, who was fired last March after two seasons of disappointment in which he posted a 40-27 record. In his first season, Kentucky lost in the first round of the N.C.A.A. tournament and failed to make the tournament his second year, the first time since 1991 that the Wildcats had missed the tournament.

Judd said her relationship with Gillispie was “always very cordial,” but she had her doubts about him.

“I knew he wasn’t right for us,” Judd said. “He had an ism.”[...]

Calipari has the Wildcats being mentioned as the favorite to win this season’s national championship, which hasn’t happened since 1998 for the college basketball power.

“I dreamed of it being this high this fast because I have visions of grandeur as a Kentucky fan,” Judd said. “But I probably, if backed into a corner, would have said, ‘No, for real, we can’t.’ But now that we are, it’s pretty impressive. It’s pretty incredible.”

She added: “But you know, we’re used to that. We’re used to winning 30 games a season. We’re used to accolades in the postseason, so on one hand it feels like an entitlement and on the other hand it is pretty intoxicating.”

Currently attending Harvard University’s Kennedy School for a masters in public administration, Judd plans to be in Syracuse on Thursday for Kentucky’s next game.

“I can do homework in Syracuse,” Judd said. “I heard they have a library, right?”

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