There's a point at which, like my colleague below, you just have to admit that you have nothing more to add. If I wasn't already at that point before yesterday's utterly demoralizing -- and yet strangely holding to form -- 65-63 defeat at Vanderbilt, I sure am now.
Because this loss can't be chalked up to shooting woes, like the Florida game. The Cats shot 58% for the game.
And this one cannot be hedged by "what-ifs" in regards to defense. UK held Vanderbilt to 41% from the field, including 30% from three-point land.
This one can't even be chalked up to our new personal pet peeve of "no energy," as the Cats were emotionally vested for the first half, bucking a recent trend of slow starts to take a commanding (but clearly not commanding enough) halftime lead.
No, this one goes deeper, past simple observation to a stinking and rotten core. These guys just don't get it, and they don't want to. Dismiss all the talk you hear of wanting to get it right, of being close, of better execution. It ain't happening.
Tubby Smith, at a complete loss to understand why his players simply cannot perform in the clutch, finally snapped, telling the press after the game:
Critics will point to the head coach's assemblage of personnel, and perhaps rightly so. But letting fall to the wayside for once the argument of whether (or, for some, to what degree) Smith is to blame for these Meltdown Cats, the more present issue is that it's not getting better. It hasn't, and it isn't going to magically start doing so.
There is no point guard on the team, only four combo guards. There is no power forward capable of willing himself a rebound. There is no go-to scorer who has shown the ability under pressure.
So, Cats fans, here we are. There's another game on Wednesday, against Georgia, and maybe we'll see the Cats win that one. Or maybe we won't.
Based on recent evidence, one thing is pretty certain: if the game is within five points down the stretch, fans won't see better execution. At this point, that's about the only thing about this team we can say with much certainty.