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A little bit of dis, and a little bit of dat...

In the interregnum between a less-than-stellar victory and the next game of a shaky UK season, there isn't all that much to talk about.  But never let it be said that a dearth of news or activity ever stopped the intrepid bloggers at ASoB from discoloring ever more pixels!

The Lexington Herald-Leader has an article today just stuffed with fodder for commentary.  Ostensibly, it is an article about how the team still feels the love from the Big Blue faithful, but then there is this:

Before the LSU game, UK Coach Tubby Smith said he was not keenly aware of fan reaction.

"I'm too busy watching film," he said before adding, "I'm sure the players are. They're the ones in the front line. They're young men who are fragile. They worry about what people say about them all the time, I'm sure.

Hmm.  Well, I suppose it's possible.  I wonder if he has noticed the picket lines outside his house, or the increase in calls from moving companies?  Just kidding Tubby.  Hang in there.

Next, we have this gem:

Nor are the players oblivious to fan criticism of Smith's coaching.

"We all hear it," Crawford said. "We try not to engage in those conversations because we know you can't put it on one person. We have to come together and not worry about things like that. It's the players who make the plays. We can't rely on coaches to make shots."

Don't go all philosophical on us, Joe.  Somebody might think a basketball scholarship at Kentucky means more than a free NBA training camp.  We can't have that, you'll confuse the BBN.  Every Kentucky fan knows the only results that matter are Final Fours ® and National Championships.

Bradley, on the other hand, is feelin' the love:

"Sometimes it's kind of tough when you hear the negativity that's in the media," Bradley said after the LSU game. "You kind of feel like everybody feels like that. But from my personal opinion, I see the fans we come in contact with. They show me nothing but support. And it's good to know that. At least our fans are behind us."

Not all of the fans, Ramel.  Not all of them, just most.  But here at ASoB, we got your back.

In response to observations by coach Smith that Bradley cannot win the games all by himself, Ramel offers us some contrition:

"He's just trying to say use your teammates," Bradley said. "I definitely want to win. I hate losing. I just have to understand I can't try to do it by myself."

Bradley's feelings about winning and losing echo those held by fans. He conceded that he's hurt Kentucky with his play at crunch time.

"I've had my ups and downs," he said. "I think it's mostly my fault. I just want to win so bad and keep the tradition going. I want to prove to everybody we can be that team."

They say the first step to solving a problem is recognizing it exists.  Perhaps hope remains while company is true.

In other news, Nathan Hutchison, sports editor of the Richmond news, offers us this long, repetitive screed detailing the Dynasty Defender view of the state of Kentucky basketball.  In my view, here is the money graf:

The most die-hard, hard-core fans in the Big Blue Nation don't want to hear a long list of reasons why the Cats are slowly being surpassed by less historically powerful programs, like Florida.

They just want results.

I could offer numerous observations about how it was just this attitude that got us in trouble with the NCAA so many times, and that's how Kentucky has earned a reputation as a serial violator of the rules.  But as the old saying goes with respect to this debate, there is nothing new under the sun.

Moving right along, we find a well-written article in the Kentucky Kernel that bemoans the cynicism of college recruiting, and the rise in fan obsession therewith:

Recruiting cuts in when kids should be enjoying the greatest time of their lives. Instead, they are weighed down by the pressure and demands of college coaches, who are weighed down by the pressure and demands of their athletic directors and fans. It's a vicious cycle, and it's spinning faster than ever.


Finally, we have this long and excellent post by Matt Jones over at his blog.  He makes what I consider to be a definitive argument on the process that has brought Kentucky to this particular point in history.  It is a good read, and a compelling argument. A bit of a teaser for you:

Then come the problems that UK is still paying for today. Tubby believes he can now win with anyone.....heck he showed it the year before. So he gets two classes of scholarship athletes that are (in totality) Brandon Stockton, Bernard Cote, Shagari Alleyne, Woo Obrzut, Bobby Perry and Sheray Thomas. It is safe to say that for those two years of classes, there were no shining stars and really only one player (Perry) that other reasonably top programs wanted....Tubby believes he can win with anyone....and tries.

Don't stop there.  Read the whole thing.

So there it is, 'Cat fans - the web today as it pertains to our favorite team and pastime during the cold winter months.  Looming on the horizon - Vanderbilt - another opportunity for this Kentucky team to prove it's quality against a ranked opponent.  I would say that this is our best chance for a "quality" win before the SEC tournament.

And I'll finish (fittingly, perhaps) with a signoff that will recall the beginning of Dan the Man Rather's slow slide into irrelevance.