Kentucky takes on the Volunteers today in Knoxville. Can the team absorb the loss of their best player and still win in the SEC?
|Kentucky at Tennessee
Sat., Feb. 16 - 1:00 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | UT
|TV: CBS Sports
Radio: UK IMG
A lot of pixels have been darkened over the fact that this is the first game Kentucky has played this year without Nerlens Noel available. Besides the fact of losing its best player and arguably the most intimidating defensive presence in Division I basketball, the Wildcats also lose a level of depth that they can ill afford.
With that said, this is the lot Kentucky has drawn. There is no cavalry coming to save this season, so these young players must rescue themselves, or suffer the consequences. Anthony Davis is not walking through that door, and neither is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. They are in Houston with the rest of the NBA All-Stars. We are what we are.
To win, Kentucky must, at minimum:
- Stop turning the ball over. Turnovers killed UK against the Florida Gators.
- Play aggressive, and stop loafing back when things go wrong. Think, but don't think too much. Trust your instincts and your coaching. Forget the last play, it's gone. Do it right from then on.
- Don't fall into the "poor me" trap. Nobody feels sorry for you, and even if they do, you don't need that. Be men, and play the game.
- Listen to John Calipari. If you do, you'll win.
- Remember who and what you are, and who and what you are playing for. It will help.
- Be winners. Refuse to lose. There are no excuses, so don't let yourself make them.
So much for the pep talk.
Let's go be Wildcats, and take out the Volunteers in their home gym. That will send a message to the rest of the country that Kentucky is not, and never has been, about one guy -- it's about a team that plays the right way.