Never in recent history has the end of a UK game felt so much like an act of mercy from God. Congratulations to the North Carolina Tar Heels on an outstanding win, and a complete domination of the Wildcats from start to finish. I did warn what would happen if we let them get out to a fast start, and alas, we did.
My brothers and sisters of the Big Blue Nation, your humble correspondent is growing extremely weary of writing obituaries about the Kentucky Wildcats. The season began with such hope, and in less than a month, it has taken on an altogether sinister character, first losing to a supposedly overmatched VMI team, and now being uncompetitive with an obviously superior North Carolina team.
This game, as in our last game, turnovers were the story. Early in the pre-season, we had hopes that the better ball handling we had seen in the Blue-White game might be a harbinger of an improved and even dangerous Kentucky team. It's still to early to tell if Kentucky might wind up dangerous, but in this writer's opinion, they have a long, long way to go before there is any hope of applying that label to them.
After the first half of this game, I was so angry I was already dreaming up the phrases I was going to use to pillory Billy Gillispie. After the second half, I had to re-evaluate my anger. No matter what we may have thought before, it is clear that this team has issues, and they are serious. I don't know who or what is the problem, but a problem there is, because you simply don't see close-knit teams play the kind of horrible pseudo-basketball we had to endure in the first half, and then come out after an apparent diatribe by the coach at halftime that spared no aspect of these young men's manhood and play a pretty fair second half.
The second half was markedly better than the first, especially defensively. This Kentucky team has serious and maybe fatal offensive issues, and despite Patterson's good shooting, it is clear that he is damaged goods. He is not nearly the athlete he was last year, and it was obvious from the first minute. He may return to 100% sometime, but anyone who saw him this year and last cannot doubt that he is worse for the wear.
I saw some good individual effort out there, particularly in the second half. Meeks has to learn that a pass is a good thing, but his defense is light-years beyond where it was the last time he played significant minutes. Perry Stevenson quietly had a decent game, and DeAndre Liggins really impressed me with his defensive effort against the much quicker Ty Lawson, even though he was completely incompetent handling the ball, and particularly trying to make high-school passes in a college game. But that can be forgiven him -- he is just a freshman.
For Michael Porter, nothing. He is just not up to this task, at least not now, and I question if he will ever be. I will just leave it at that. Darius Miller was awful, but again, he is a freshman, and he will get better. Josh Harrellson had a moment or two of decent play, but mostly he was simply ineffective and not ready to play at the level of a UK basketball player. Ramon Harris was just the same as always -- tentative on offense and a demon on defense, but he should have been much better.
Even after this embarrassment, I am not losing hope. All of you think that it kind of sucks being a Kentucky fan right now, but you have absolutely no idea how miserable it is to be a Kentucky blogger at this precise moment. I stay in the game by assuring myself that we will get better, and that one day, however long it may seem, we will once again grasp the brass ring. I am tempted to qualify that statement significantly, but I refuse to do so on principle.
So here we are, 0-2 for the first time in eight years. Yes, that's right, we were 0-2 back in 2000, and I remember it well. But let's keep our heads up, as hard as it may seem at the moment, and our pride before us. Life can sometimes deal harshly with us, but in the end, this is still only a college sporting contest. If you had been in my home during the game, you may have believed it was life or death, but it isn't. Perspective is important, and faith in our legacy, however tarnished it is right now, is what we have.
Good night, 'Cat fans. The sun will most likely come up tomorrow and if so, there will be more games to play.