"This team would not quit! They never quit!"
Its not like we're waiting for this year's team to start. Though Gillispie has remarked several times about the team's lack of toughness, anybody watching the last three games would be hard-pressed to argue that the team ever really quit on the floor. Execution has been rough, especially on the offensive side of the floor. But you cannot deny everyday they're hustlin'.
It would help if we had some of that old-school hustle, though. Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley essentially carried the Wildcats through the majority of the SEC season last year. They were talented enough to shake free from defenders, knock down shots and grab steals. But equally important, they were experienced enough to know what needed to be done on both ends of the floor.
Overall it seems the experience is what this team is lacking. Jodie Meeks is a junior by eligibility rules, but a sophomore by playing time. He's still learning when is the right time to gamble for a steal and how to effectively break free of tight coverage. Patrick executes his game to near perfection -- his shot selection against Mississippi State's Varnado was troubling at times -- but he too is still learning what it takes to be a leader. Our most talented freshmen -- Miller and Liggins -- are still learning what it takes to participate in games.
3 losses in a row seemed to accelerate the learning curve a bit.
"Our leaders have picked up their intensity," Darius Miller said yesterday in an interview. "Pat, Jodie and the all the other guys that have been here for a while, they really picked up their intensity in practice and showed us what it needs to be like everyday."
Tonight, against the kind of perimeter-based talented-guard-filled team that we've struggled against, we will see what has been learned.
(Those of you going to Rupp tonight, remember to sing the dern fight song!)