Well, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, there's no time to cry over spilled milk. On the last play of the game, the Kentucky Wildcats had an excellent chance, and an excellent play called, to take down the Florida Gators. James Young slipped and fell on a hard cut, ending the game with the Wildcats falling just short, 60-61. I can live with that result.
Congratulations to the Florida Gators. Florida definitely did enough to deserve this game, even though Kentucky gave them a massive game at the end. When you are a good team, good fortune almost always follows you, and Florida has needed precious little good fortune this season. They needed it today, and it worked out for them. Salute them on a noble victory, and a well-earned SEC Tournament title.
Final box score from UK-Florida: pic.twitter.com/m2ldpgcNwM— CoachCal.com (@CoachCalDotCom) March 16, 2014
For Kentucky, this was a game of strangeness. For a good part of the game, they seemed to revert into the Wildcats of old, but somehow, they just didn't want to go there. In this case, resistance was not futile, and Kentucky played some of the best defense they have played all season in the second half from about the 13 minute mark on. Suddenly, the shots and free throws began falling like rain for the Wildcats, and a 16-point lead disappeared to one.
Unfortunately, this young Wildcat squad just didn't have the chops to finish off the comeback. 85% of the time, a big comeback like this falls short, and once again, the odds prevailed. Having said that, I was very pleased to see this Kentucky team grow up still more before our very eyes. Many teams would have mailed it in down 16 in the second half, but Kentucky bowed their backs and showed their quality, in spite of their youth.
This was as moral as moral victories get, coming as it did against the #1 team in the nation. Whether we are into moral victories or not, we have to appreciate how far this Wildcats team has come in such a short time. Make no mistake, Kentucky almost earned a victory here, and almost will have to be enough for now.
If you think I am happy, well, you're half right. I am tickled to death to see this team maturing just in time for the Big Dance, but I am sad to lose three in a row to the Gators, a game Kentucky arguably did enough to win. That hurts, but dwelling on tough losses in relatively meaningless games is not productive. Another SEC Tournament championship would have meant no more than the other 27 Kentucky has won.
The postmortem will be later, probably tomorrow. Talk about the game in here. I'll have an SEC Selection Sunday open thread up in a few.