If you're like me -- and unless you're super attractive and always right, then you are not like me -- you probably feel basically pretty miserable right now, a few hours before Kentucky visits No. 1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
In part, of course, this is because of that atrocity last Friday. I figured VMI would be a weird matchup, but that a hyped-up Kentucky team and a scoring Meeks would get us through. I did not account, however, for Mike Porter's "Coury Cold Opening" impression, nor for the Lofton-esque shooting theatrics from nearly every visiting player.
But this misery also because, quite frankly, I just don't get that joy anymore I used to get. It's been beaten out of me by a season (now plus) of struggling to score on nearly every possession under Gillispie, and that on top of two years of Tubby's Tabby's doing their best impression of a St. Johns team in blue and white unis.
I guess I can be accused of being a fair-weather fan, and it's been easy to with the sort of weather we had for so long. We got used to winning, and took it to mean that it was a birthright. But those of us old enough to remember other coaching changes should have known better. The Tubby title transition was the exception, not the rule.
Pitino's circumstances were obviously different, but no other new UK coach has had a completely easy go of it in his first two years. Gillispie is no different. And much of what is transpiring now is the hangover of the two years preceding his arrival, when UK got by with a lot of mediocrity and fans got used to last second squeakers over the VMIs of the world, at the expense, maybe, of some hard-earned lessons and better development.
When you play just to not lose you aren't playing to win, a corny college coach might say.
None of that is to imply that I'd somehow have preferred to lose Friday. But maybe we, as UK fans, will just have to get better about something we have been absolutely terrible about as a rule: patience.
It will not be easy. Gillispie's defensive schemes take time, and require players to be in maximum condition to close out after collapsing in to stop the dribbe-drive. And these guys, while probably better conditioned than many of their opponents, are probably not there yet, footspeed-wise.
Additionally, with Jasper transferring and Liggins still adjusting, there are effectively no experienced elite athletes at the point position on the floor or on the bench. Porter is what he is, but a star athlete he is not.I assume Galloway is still on the team. Someone let the FBI know if you see him.
We'll see, of course. Maybe tomorrow we'll all be talking about where UK should be in the top 25. Or maybe we'll be trying to figure out how many losses we'll pile up. Who knows.
All I know right now is I feel like locking myself in a dark room for a few months.
Anyone else having this much fun, too?