There is simply no muse like a traumatic, unexpected event.
Just a few days ago, I was struggling to come up with things to talk about -- football was still in the interregnum of a bye week, the basketball team was beating up on cupcakes -- there just wasn't a lot to write about. All that changed last night with the defeat of Kentucky at the hands of ... Gardner-Webb. Say that again -- Kentucky lost to Gardner-Webb ... by 16 in Rupp Arena! Sounds like something you might read on The Onion, but folks, this one is just as real this morning as it was last night when I went to bed.
I will be using this post to highlight news links, and updating the news box below a bit later. It takes time to do, and right now, I am more interested in making a few points for discussion.
Number one: I see an awful lot of people blaming this loss on Tubby Smith. Folks, that is just silly. Even if we were to accept the argument that Smith left the cupboard bare, blaming this loss on lack of talent is utterly non-sequitur. We have two seniors who were highly ranked, one of them a high school all-American, several highly ranked sophomores, two freshmen high school all-Americans, and a hot new coach who has resurrected programs far worse off than us. I wonder if Gardner-Webb had a 3-star among them? That fact alone aught to be enough to win against a team like Gardener-Webb. May I respectfully suggest that if you feel the urge to continue to blame Tubby Smith for everything bad that happens to the Wildcats, you are doing the Big Blue Nation, but more importantly your own credibility, a disservice.
Number two: Those fans who "booed", I hope you were booing the referees and the other team. I chose to believe that for now. If you weren't, you need to grow up. These things happen during transitions. Get over it, or prepare for nasty reprovals. I will show you no mercy.
Number three: For those of you griping about pre-season tournaments, Kentucky isn't going to stop playing in them. Gardner-Webb had just as much (or just as little) practice time as we did. If you want to blame it on something, blame it on the exhibition games. I have never quite figured out why we play those.
Number four: No matter how dark this seems, just remember that there are worse things. For example, we don't have to explain this for the rest of our lives. That's something to be thankful for.
Number five: Is this one of the worst defeats Kentucky has suffered at Rupp Arena? Yes, it is, but it isn't the only bad loss we have had here. Sooner or later, every team is going to go through this, even the mighty UK. It sucks, but it is a fact of life.
I would like to bring some blogger reax from the BBN, but I have seen some things that would cause me to make comments I might regret, so I think I'll just let people vent in their little corner of cyberspace for now. After things have calmed down a bit, we'll bring some of those on board. So instead, let's go to some other bloggers and media types who have less invested in the team:
John Clay gets the tone just about right, and Billy Gillispie himself tells us who is at fault:
Kyle at Putting Up Bricks (some sweet synchronicity in that name, don't you think?) wonders if Billy G. might be missing College Station right about now:
Rush the Court wonders if firebillygillispie.com is up yet:
To the mainstream media, of course we have DeCourcy, who doesn't pull any punches, but ends on a note of optimism (of sorts):
Finally, Mike at Card Chronicle sums up the game beautifully:
So there we are, my brothers and sisters in blue -- the bad and the ugly. There is no good, unless you count two uninterrupted weeks of practice -- something, I think it's safe to say, this team needs quite a bit of.
Update [2007-11-8 12:30:37 by Truzenzuzex]: Aaaannd now ... We get the Pat Forde treatment:
At least Carr lost close, 34-32, with a game-winning field goal attempt blocked on the final play. Gillispie's Kentucky team was never in the game. They trailed 14-0 out of the gates and only briefly got the deficit into single digits.
Gotta give The Loathsome Troll Jeff Goodman credit, though -- UK didn't show up in his top 25 (although I think that was for a reason other than merit, but who knows?)
Update [2007-11-8 17:11:27 by Truzenzuzex]: Heh. Great -- we made the WaPo.