Kentucky's different breed of Cats

Pinckney saw a video recently of John Calipari giving a tour of the Wildcats' new $8 million Wildcat Coal Lodge, the players' tricked-out dormitory,

"They've got like two chefs," Pinckney said. "You know, in case one needs a day off. We worked out in some nautilus trailer. We had antiquated trailers. We ate at Dougherty Dining Hall."

That doesn't include Kentucky's recently renovated locker room, where part of the 2012 Final Four floor was laid down, the seven-year-old, $30 million Joe Craft Center practice facility and the upcoming renovations to Rupp Arena.

Villanova practiced at Jake Nevin Field House, a throwback gym complete with a stage at one end.

"It was a joke," Pinckney said.

Maybe the biggest difference, though, is the median age of the two rosters. That's probably the only thing that makes Kentucky anything more Cinderella than Villanova.

The Villanova team that played in that national title game started three seniors and two juniors. Of the guys who came off the bench, one (Jensen) was a sophomore, another (Mark Plansky) was a freshman, and another (Chuck Everson) was a junior.

You might have heard that Kentucky is starting five freshmen.

Pinckney, a former Villanova assistant, has watched this NCAA tournament in near fascination at the Wildcats' success.

"What does Cal even tell them?" he asked. "There's no frame of reference for anything. When we played, we could always go back to some game a few years ago that was tough but that we pulled out. What are they going off of?"

But Pinckney's curiosity about the Cats doesn't mean he's rooting for them to win.

He's a Big East guy, for starters, but more, he's a Kevin Ollie fan.

Pinckney coached Ollie in Minnesota, and five years ago, after the Timberwolves played the Jazz, the two caught a 5 a.m. flight out of Salt Lake City to Detroit. Pinckney's Wildcats and Ollie's Huskies were both playing there in the Final Four.

"I remember him saying then, 'I'd love to get involved in this. This is great,'" Pinckney said. "Now look at him. He's coaching in the national championship game. It's crazy."

Ollie, of course, has a pretty good underdog too. The Huskies didn't exactly come to mind when people started making their list of national champion favorites in November.

Or three weeks ago.

Pinckney can relate to a team like that.

Plus, UConn is a 7-seed.

And not an eight.

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