MetaFours: Kentucky is Tesla

MetaFours is a fun way of breaking down the Final Four teams by using metaphors to explain them

 

 

Just in case you didn’t know: (Wikipedia)

Tesla Motors, Inc. is an American company that designs, manufactures and sells electric cars and electric vehicle powertrain components. Tesla Motors is a public company that trades on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the symbol TSLA. In the first quarter of 2013, Tesla posted profits for the first time in its ten year history.

Tesla Motors first gained widespread attention by producing the Tesla Roadster, the first fully electric sports car.The company’s second vehicle was the Model S, a fully electric luxury sedan. Tesla also markets electric powertrain components, including lithium-ion battery packs, to automakers, including Daimler and Toyota.

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, has said he envisions Tesla as an independent automaker, aimed at eventually offering electric cars at a price affordable to the average consumer.  

These two are totally different entities, right? Maybe,…maybe not.

Rough beginnings

In 2008, Tesla was bottoming out. Elon Musk’s massive fortune had long been spent, and investors wouldn’t touch them with a 10-foot pole. To the world, it looked like the time still wasn’t right for electric cars. All they had were a bunch of fancy, impractical prototypes sitting in garages, and nothing tangible to show for their efforts. Prospects were decidedly bleak.

After being ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls, Kentucky lost in just its third game of the season. Then, three weeks later, they lost again. And again. And again. 10 times before the Tournament started; that’s 10 more losses than they should have had. Critics were overjoyed – they knew that these immature freshmen would never be able to compete at this level without breaking down. These kids were in over their heads, and they were paying for it.

Early bumps in the road. Photo by Town News.

Resurgence

What happened next was legendary. Tesla released the Roadster, a sports car, in 2010 to minimal excitement. In 2012, it exploded onto the scene with the Model S. That car received the highest score ever in Consumer Reports’ review of it (99/100 overall). Last quarter, they posted a profit for the first time in company history. They’re getting more orders than they can process, and they just keep on advancing, miles at a time. Their future is brighter than the sun (keep reading for more).

Behold. Photo by Motor Trend.

Kentucky lost its last game before the tournament, the SEC Championship, to top overall seed Florida by just one point. The whispers began – are they actually good? One point…? They could have won! The tournament started, and everybody’s opinion of Kentucky was different. They cruised past their first opponent, Kansas State. Then, they ripped off the most impressive three game sequence of any team at any point this year.

It started by taking down previously undefeated 1-seed Wichita State in an instant classic. Then, in a rivalry game against defending champions Louisville, they came roaring back from a double digit deficit to pull out the win. Finally, to reach the Final Four they had to beat a deep, experienced Michigan team that was one of the top offensive units in the country. After another thrilling 39.5 minutes, the game was tied 75-75. Aaron Harrison drilled a stepback three-pointer with 2.1 seconds left and a hand literally in his face. Game. Whoo-wee. In case you’re counting at home, they just beat three of last year’s Final Four teams…consecutively. Each game was absolutely riveting throughout. That was special.

 

Genius in doubt

And that’s how we got here.

Tesla’s CEO is a man named Elon Musk. I’d be surprised if you’ve ever met anybody more interesting than him; just watch this segment from yesterday’s 60 Minutes. If you caught it in that video, he mentions that even after he sold a company for $180 million, even his own friends tried to convince him not to go down the road of electric cars and spaceships. If I was anywhere near him, I don’t care if he says he’s going to uncover the secret to living forever; that’s not the kind of man you bet against.

Coach Cal has gone to a Final Four with three different schools. I don’t care how much cheating is involved (and I believe there was none here), that’s a hard thing to do. It’s not a walk in the park to attract such talent to Lexington each year, either. However, he still gets way more than his fair share of haters. They decry everything about him, from sanctions when he was at Memphis to not allowing his kids to get a real education. He’s on a mission right now as well; after all, if you are national champions, those negative voices suddenly get a lot quieter.

Come on, just look at those dimples. Photo by CSTV.

It’s a joy to watch these two men work.

Youth

There hasn’t been a new, successful American car company in pretty much 90 years. Tesla, at just ten years old, is a relative infant compared to powers like Ford and Chevy. Everything about it screams special and sexy. While the old guys have grown complacent, Tesla is looking to catch them napping with a product that’s superior in just about every way. As evidenced by the situation in New Jersey, the big boys are starting to notice and get scared. As well they should be. Tesla is young, but it is innovating 10 times faster than anybody else, and if things go as planned they’ll be quite a force soon. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss something monumental.

It’s well-known that Kentucky and John Calipari rely heavily on extremely talented freshmen in their basketball program. As is evident by now, this year is no different. There are eight freshmen on the roster, and the whole starting lineup is made up of first-years. These kids are looking to prove that age is just a number. They’ve already made it to the top four, but to really make their point they’re going to have to win it all. Even if they don’t, the reason shouldn’t have anything to do with their age.

These are some Fresh Men. Photo by ESPN.

Magnet

This Kentucky Wildcats team and Tesla Motors both have the it factor. You just can’t take your eyes off of them.

Kentucky’s collection of talent is extraordinary in itself. If nothing else, people would tune in to their games this year just to see how well this seemingly overpowered experiment was faring (more often than not, the answer was, “not so well”). If you can name a team that is more intriguing, I’ll listen. And then call you stupid.

Tesla? Self explanatory. If you see one in the street or driving alongside you, you’re head’s turning. And you won’t be able to turn it anywhere else. Period. It is on the front end of the car industry. It uses no gas. And it looks this damn good.

Behold. Photo by Digital Trends.

No limits

This is the best thing about both of these things. Sky’s the limit? No way. If they keep going, they’re blasting through the atmosphere (for Elon Musk, literally), maybe chilling at the moon for a bit, taking a detour to Mars, going by the sun, out of the Milky Way.

Tesla is opening a battery factory soon that is expected to produce more battery power by itself than every single other plant in the world. This is not only going to increase their production rates (currently a little slow because of the amount of work that goes into each car), but also decrease costs. In the grand scheme of things, this will make the company a huge player not only in the car industry, but in the whole energy sector. In the last two years, their stock has jumped more than 500%. And it’s going to keep climbing. Watch out.

You’ve heard enough about the talent on this Kentucky team, but what I don’t think people realize is that they could potentially be historic. Freshmen that are this good – the only comparison could be the Fab Five. This Kentucky squad is going to go as far as it wants – and if they want it badly, they’ll be remembered for a long time.   

 

Despite being the lowest seed in the Final Four, Kentucky is by no means an underdog. In fact, at this point, they may as well be the favorite. They are currently preparing to face Wisconsin for the right to go to the National Championship game. The Badgers are no slouches, but Coach Cal’s squad is just too good right now. Even if things don’t fully work out for Kentucky, one thing is guaranteed: they’ll do their thing in style.

Just like an electric car that goes 0-60 in 4.2 seconds.

 

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