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Pain and tears -- This, too, shall pass

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I'm still in wind-down mode from the 2007-08 Kentucky basketball season.  I still have a rooting interest in the tournament in Western Kentucky, but other than that, I am just trying to recover from the stress of the season and deal with the inevitability that for the Wildcats, it is over with a capital O.

So instead of trying to reach into my foggy brain for something pithy, I think I'll just have a look at some of the post-season commentary.

It seems that most people, including me and probably most of you, have realized by now that it was Kentucky's defense that did not shine in the loss to Marquette.  Gillispie himself had this observation:

"I think our defense has been fantastic (recently)," Gillispie said. "Today it was much more difficult to be fantastic because it's so hard to guard the dribbler, but I didn't think our secondary defense was very good at all, didn't think we rotated over nearly enough."

Exactly as I saw it.  For whatever reason, Kentucky's defensive rotation just wasn't there, and it cost us many easy layups against the Golden Eagles.  John Clay also observed that UK's defense was just not as effective on Thursday:
As a result, if you go by points per possession, it was the fourth-worst effort in the past three seasons for the Kentucky defense.
John provides us with a table to compare, and it's easy to see that with a performance like this defensively, UK rarely prevails.

Joe Crawford believes that if Patterson had been available, the Marquette game would have gone the other way:
"If we were at full strength," Crawford said, "I think there'd be no doubt we would have won this ballgame."
Respectfully, Joe, I disagree about the doubt, but I would like our chances a lot better.  But that is just the way the season went.  This season broke bad for us and our horse hurt his leg in the last furlong.  But at least the animal will survive to compete another day, even without a couple of our most beloved players.

The New York Times reports that all that is left for Kentucky is pain and tears, via Joe Crawford:
"No one on the outside can understand the pain, sweat and tears," Crawford said. Speaking of the end of the season, which seemed doomed at its midpoint before a strong finish, Crawford said: "It just hurts. I put everything into it."
I feel your pain, Joe, and I think we can all attest to it.  Sometimes our best efforts are simply not rewarded, and we are left wondering what it was all for.  Trust me, there will come a time when you look back at all this as a seminal moment in your life, a time when you could only see clouds and rain, but not the bright sunshine lurking just behind.

Sometimes, rewards for great effort are ... delayed.