I was just reading about how this is close to becoming a deal and I got to thinking: Why? Why would Calipari leave his coushy gig at Memphis where all he has to do is recruit (read: pay) top flight athletes, then roll out of bed every morning and let them run wild on CUSA competition that is nowhere near their skill level? Oh I suppose there are those exceptions when they go out of conference to play other national powers like Gonzaga, but you know what I'm sayin'. So here's my take on why, if I were Coach Cal, I could see taking the Kentucky job.
1) The obvious reason is the cash. $3.5+ mil is hard to say no to. Memphis may try to match the money, but it's clear that Kentucky has some deep pockets. I mean hell, they paid Gillispie $2.1 million to not coach.
2) It's Kentucky... It's Kentucky. Ok, so maybe program prestige ain't what it used to be, but most self respecting hoopsters like the idea of playing for national titles. And it's nice to be able to be like, "Titles you say? You mean like these ones?", as you point to all your banners and trophies and shit. Now, if Coach Cal is planning to run UK like he did Memphis, simply a layover for phenoms on their way to the pros, then this might not sell quite as well, but it certainly can't hurt.
3) Now is as good a time as there will ever be to take this job. Their expectations are as low as they're ever going to be at Kentucky. What can he do that the last guy didn't already screw up? Miss the tournament: check. Piss off the administration, fans and boosters: check. Make Ashley Judd start to look her age: check (this one might not be Billy's fault...fuck what am I saying, everything wrong in Lexington these days is Billy's fault). Calipari has the star power to come in there, do things his way, and not have anyone question him. People doubted Gillispie from the jump, and it showed. Coach Cal will have the longest leash possible for a UK coach. Along with that, the SEC is really, really down right now. It's not like he's going to have to try to rebuild while simultaneously competing with 4 or 5 other dominant programs. Their regular season champs were an 8 seed!! That says all you need to know about the state of the SEC. I'm not sure how much better it is the CUSA. I mean what would the line be on a Georgia-Southern Miss game on a neutral court? (Actually, the real question may be would anyone care enough to even make a line for that game?) If Calipari can take even one of his stud recruits (Demarcus Cousins we're all looking at you) with him to play with Meeks and Patterson and co., then that might be enough to turn a couple of those L's into W's, and then bickety bam, they're back in the tourney and he's the fucking Big Blue Hero.