Like Rome, Kentucky basketball is a storied, flawed empire

John Calipari
John Calipari - photo by Mark Humphrey | AP

Rick Pitino, upon taking the Kentucky job three coaches ago, called it the “Roman Empire of college basketball.” Which was correct, in a way.  The Emperor Nero supposedly fiddled while Rome burned.  Kentucky’s 1958 NCAA champions were called the “Fiddlin’ Five.” Said Adolph Rupp, the legendary Kentucky coach: “All they can do is win. They’re not concert violinists, but they sure can fiddle.”  Alas, the fiddle had not been invented in 64 A.D., when Nero’s Rome was en fuego.

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