Like Mike Tyson without his 'Meds, and a menopausal Hillary Clinton (do post-ops still experience this?), this Kentucky team continues to perplex wildcat nation. Following their 2nd half calamity in Gainesville, Tubby and crew barked all week about the importance of each upcoming game, and the chip that now adorned their shoulders. Most of the team responded last night with premium effort, but once again came up short. It was obvious to anyone watching the game, that a) UT was much fitter, and b) much more intelligent.
...are our players hoisting 3's in the final 2 minutes instead of staying on the horse that kept us in the game (Morris)?
...is Sparks on the bench in the final minute, when we actually needed a trey?
Nevertheless, Tennessee out-hustled, and out-smarted Kentucky severely in the final minute, en-route to becoming yet another team to sign the Rupp Arena guestbook, "Great party, can't wait to see you at our place." From an objective standpoint, Kentucky hung tough and had a chance to knock off the #14 team in the land, all without the scoring and energy of Ramel Bradley. However, I'm not objective, and will never be able to muster enough civility to justify a home loss. I'm dumbfounded by the ease in which Rupp Arena has become an 'easy' SEC stop, and floored by D-1 athletes who continue to miss free-throws. Just when you think this team has found some cohesion and stability...
My first thought as Lofton filled up the stat sheet in tri's, is how can a team who has been practicing all week to stop # 5, not stop #5? Then I watched the Duke UNC game and realized that gret shooters simply cannot be stopped. Yes, Lofton had a few open looks, and it doesn't help when Gary Cole..., I mean Brandon Stockton continues to go under screens, but he hit some extremely tough shots. You can bet Roy Williams said no more than 3 words at practice before the Duke game, "stop J.J. Redick." (I like Roy, but sometimes I'd love to knock that sarcastic smile off his face). Redick went for a cool 35, often sinking off-balanced bombs over multiple defenders. Shooters will score when they're feeling it, just ask Josh Carrier.
UK will have to win it's next four games and hope to steal one in Baton Rouge, Knoxville, or even worse, at home against Florida to solidify an NCAA bid (not to mention a W in the conference tourney). It's looking bleaker by the day, but as Mike Tyson so optimistically professed, "One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." Thanks Mike, now, back in your cage...