For a while this morning, I thought maybe the sun really didn't come up. It felt like about 3 degrees Kelvin outside, it was dark and drear and the world out my door looked very much as it would if the sun had died.
Fortunately, it is just a cold day here in Kentucky, matching the cold feeling we all have from last night. I know there are a good number of people who like to avoid the news and commentary after a stunning or particularly ugly loss. But as your faithful correspondent, I have to read all that putrid foulness and have every pundit, reporter and blogger on the Internet tell me what they thought about last night's events. It is the price I pay for doing what I do. I'm sure by now you have all heard all the, "worst loss in ... " stuff, so I won't even dredge up that brain damage. It was, as Gillispie said, "one loss." In the world of NCAA tournament speculation, it was probably more like two, but there still remains some games to be played, and every one of them does matter.
I don't know what happened to our team last night, but whatever it was, it happened to all of them. Even Patrick Patterson was unprepared, and that is something we haven't seen much this year. I really am not all that upset about the loss, but I am chagrined about the fact that we completely failed to compete. Vanderbilt played great, and I don't think we could have beaten them last night if we had the Detroit Pistons roster instead of Bradley, Crawford, Patterson and company. This game reminded me very much of the 2003 game in which the Suffocats came out and dominated Vandy -- in fact, it was eerily similar. Vanderbilt's offense was outstanding, but what was truly impressive was the physical, in-your-face defense they played against us. What was depressing was our response, or rather, lack thereof.
I warn you, expect the "rumors" to start immediately resurfacing about everything from soup to nuts, and nothing having to do with actual basketball. I have already seen the signs and received the emails, and if this isn't more proof of the total lack of reliability of what you read on the Internet or hear from those with an agenda, I can't advise you. For the last three weeks we have heard dead silence, as though all the seedy and nefarious whispers of earlier this year were all better now and even off-limits by divine edict. I strongly suspect that edict is now revoked.
Pay no attention, good people, to the static on your Internet. Kentucky will either learn from this debacle or they will collapse. I have seen both things happen before, and neither would surprise me, but I am hoping for the former. This is by no means the first time a Kentucky team has taken a drubbing that surprised everyone, and it will not be the last, as much as we would like for it to be. So to my Big Blue brothers and sisters out there, I say, "Buck up. There is a lot of basketball yet to be played."
This has been a difficult season, but no more difficult than others I have lived through fairly recently. That's no reason for us to descend into the gutter, start advocating the throwing of elbows or hard fouls, etc. Vanderbilt won fair and square, and we need to take it like classy fans do -- on the chin, with pride intact. If a Commodore fan can't help him or herself and descends into smack, just say "106-44." That aught to bring them back to reality. See, here at Kentucky, we don't always remember the brutal beatings we sometimes dole out, but you can best believe this: Our victims absolutely do. This year, we were the victim, and I guarantee you it will be remembered.
So that is all I have to say about the Vanderbilt affair. It was a bad one, to be sure, but the sun did come up this morning despite my first impressions. The season isn't over despite the best efforts of some fair-weather fans and the media to end it today, and we must prepare for LSU this weekend. What we absolutely cannot do is allow Vanderbilt to beat us twice -- LSU showed how tough they can be at home against the Volunteers this past weekend, so we are going to have to bring our "A" game if we hope to beat the Tigers. They lack some players at positions, but they are absolutely talented and capable. But more on that later.
For now, I will leave you with this proverb: "Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors."