Florida Gators 69, Kentucky Wildcats 59: Post Game Lament

Andy Lyons

Florida defeated the Wildcats in Rupp Arena, snapping the UK winning streak and extending Florida's undefeated SEC record.

At this particular moment, I have no words remaining to describe my disappointment in this basketball team. After this loss, all we can do is look ourselves in the eye and admit that this Kentucky team simply isn't good enough. Part of me, in frustration, wants to declare that they can never be good enough, but that would be premature. There'll be plenty of time to declare that at some later date, and while there are games left to play, we just have to deal with it one game at a time.

Box score

Congratulations to the Florida Gators, who played a masterful game. I really appreciate how determined and dogged they are getting into the right position at the right time, and making good decisions. Florida is an outstanding basketball team, and they deserve both their ranking, and this victory. They were the superior team. That's all there is to say about that, except well done.

Kentucky really didn't play that bad. I thought the defense was decent, and although the offense sputtered at times, we've seen that all season in both wins and losses. We've never seen it run as well as Florida's did tonight, and I really don't think Florida played their best game, although they did play pretty well.

The Wildcats, as a team, just aren't good enough to win at the top tier right now, but it's not all negative;  They are still pretty good. I'm just going to be honest here, though, Kentucky has been working hard to prove that they are second best in this league and definitely not worthy of the top ten, and they have accomplished that tonight. The Wildcats aren't bad by any means, and they are way better than last year, but at this point, I think I can use the "D" word with some authority — disappointment.

Quick observations:

  • John Calipari's technical really cost his team. It was a major error, and I'm not sure what he did to get it, but whatever it was, he's got as much as his team to learn if you ask me.  Unless, of course, he legitimately did not deserve it, in which case, I'll have a lengthy rant defenestrating the official.

  • I don't really mean this in a mean-spirited or hateful way, but I hope this hurts the Wildcats players as much as it does me, and many of us in the Big Blue Nation. I hope they feel every inch, every minute agony of my pain right now, all of it. If they do, they will be better for it.  Catharsis should be painful.

  • There is no doubt whatever that Florida wanted this game more than Kentucky. This is the first time in five years that I have actually thought to question Calipari's philosophy, because if he can't get the "want to" into this group by now, it's very likely not going to show up later on this season. It might, but right now, color me skeptical.  Maybe his approach is flawed after all?

  • The season isn't over. Win out until the Florida game, and who knows, maybe we get this one back in Gainesville. I know the team has the talent, but they are going to have to do something about the lack of "want to."  I'm not giving up, but ... this was a big exam, and Kentucky didn't pass.

  • The biggest reason Kentucky lost was turnovers and rebounding.  Those two seem to crop up a lot for this team; when they are good, they take care of the ball and rebound. When they aren't, well, you know the rest.

I don't have a lot more to say that would make sense, really. Just like the rest of you, I'm severely disappointed, and when you're disappointed, you say things you don't mean and shouldn't say. Take that under advisement, and try to control your emotions also.  I get that this is frustrating, but it isn't the first frustrating thing we've dealt with and it unfortunately won't be the last.  Life is like that.

I wish I could offer some penetrating observation, but sadly, I don't see anything there.  What I see is exactly what you see; a callow young team defeated by a superior, experienced team. I hate that, a lot.  Tomorrow morning, after I've purged this disappointment and regained my equanimity, I'll have some genuine, meaningful analysis.

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