clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Big Bracket Nation: Elite Eight

The third round of the single-elimination tournament to determine John Calipari’s most outstanding player

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

John Calipari hasn’t held an official position in the NBA since the turn of the century, but his fingerprints are all over the league as we know it. Coach Cal has only one NCAA title to his name, but in just nine seasons in Lexington, he’s turned the University of Kentucky into an assembly line for professional players—both in the NBA and in leagues across the globe. This week, we’re exploring Kentucky’s and Calipari’s impact on the basketball world, and whether or not his one-and-done blueprint has staying power at both the college and pro levels. Welcome to the Kentucky Basketball Association.


Brandon Knight, ostensibly an NBA guard, is probably best known for getting the stone-eyes treatment after daring to step in front of DeAndre Jordan with a head full of steam:

Knight has had a rough go of it ever since. He was traded to Milwaukee that offseason, and despite reestablishing his value alongside a nascent Giannis, he was dealt again to Phoenix in a three-way trade that, depending on if/when the Lakers’ first-round pick finally conveys, could be one of the worst in recent history. Knight, now 26, has struggled with injuries in his three-plus years as a Sun; he hasn’t played since February 2017 because of a torn ACL.

Even while on the shelf, Knight has managed to get dunked on yet again. A 4-seed in our mighty Big Bracket Nation, Knight faced long odds in his second-round matchup with Anthony Davis, the top seed in the tournament and the odds-on favorite to win the whole thing. But even we didn’t see Tuesday’s overwhelming victory for AD coming. Knight received just 142 votes—or nearly half of what Joey Dorsey got in his first-round matchup with Davis. Good luck to Marcus Camby in Round 3!

The rest of bracket went chalk, too—Julius Randle, a 3-seed, was the only second-round loser to put up much of a fight—setting up an Elite Eight of all 1s and 2s:

Now, to the voting.

A quick reminder: We want you to include the quality and the quantity of a player’s contributions at both levels into your evaluations, but we’re skewing more toward the consideration process for the Basketball Hall of Fame: College careers matter, but NBA careers matter more.

The polls for each round will open—both here and on Twitter (@ringer)—around 9 a.m. ET every morning, and close at 8 p.m. ET each night. The Final Four is Thursday, and the grand finale is Friday. You only get to vote once, so make it count.

Lexington Region

Poll

Which Coach Cal player should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 91%
    (1) Anthony Davis
    (5818 votes)
  • 8%
    (2) Marcus Camby
    (538 votes)
6356 votes total Vote Now

Memphis Region

Poll

Which Coach Cal player should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    (1) John Wall
    (3571 votes)
  • 43%
    (2) Derrick Rose
    (2780 votes)
6351 votes total Vote Now

Amherst Region

Poll

Which Coach Cal player should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    (1) DeMarcus Cousins
    (5930 votes)
  • 6%
    (2) Eric Bledsoe
    (379 votes)
6309 votes total Vote Now

East Rutherford Region

Poll

Which Coach Cal player should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    (1) Karl-Anthony Towns
    (4990 votes)
  • 21%
    (2) Devin Booker
    (1350 votes)
6340 votes total Vote Now