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Thanksgiving Wildcats Ruminations

Some stream of consciousness drivel about Kentucky sports.

The learning curve at Kentucky is steep.
The learning curve at Kentucky is steep.
Andy Lyons

I have arrived safely in Las Vegas, and we have a nice, 600 square foot suite at the Rio compliments of the hotel, who can't wait to take our money. And they surely will.

But before I go down and squander my hard-won living on ding-dings and dong-dongs, I've been pondering some Wildcats thoughts that might make a good post. At least, if you're bored, it's something to amuse you.

How big would it be if we managed to beat the head coach-less Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday? I know that a lot of UK fans really don't give a hoot in hell about this game, but there are some of us, and you know who you are, who really and truly care about every single chance that we have to defeat the heathen Knoxville Orange and further enrage their fan base, although to be fair, I doubt they would even notice. They are too busy searching for their third head coach since 2008.

In a way, Kentucky and Tennessee are mirror images of each other. Both have passionate fans that want desperately to win. Both are divided about the prospect of bringing an ethical vacuum like Bobby Petrino to their schools, but both have a good number of fans willing to excuse any behavior whatsoever in the name of producing a winning program. The mere fact that there were people on the Kentucky side (I can't speak for the Vols, not having the stomach to hang out for long in their fever swamps) willing to hire Jim Tressel and live with his NCAA issues speaks volumes.

Back to beating Tennessee. Giving Joker Phillips a 2-1 record against a team that once enjoyed a 26-season winning streak against Kentucky would be a great way to send out a loyal servant of the Big Blue Faithful. His failure at this job in no way reflects on the person Joker is, nor does it reflect on the many years of dedicated, and mostly excellent service he has given to this school. I'll probably tear up after Saturday's game -- not sure if it will be seeing Joker go, or my money, but either way...


Kentucky basketball has got to grow up. That game Wednesday against Morehead St. Eagles was a potential disaster, mostly averted because Morehead fouled out practically their whole team. 32 fouls isn't an NCAA record or anything, but my goodness, it made for a painful game to watch.

Making it even more painful was watching Kentucky try, and fail, to rebound the basketball. This team has talent, but it also has serious issues. Not turnover issues like last year, but more fundamental and potentially devastating ones. Until this team learns that AAU ball was so freaking last year and mans up to play big-boy basketball, the Wildcats are going to be vulnerable to almost everybody, including the Long Island U. Blackbirds tomorrow night. I'm telling you that LIU at 0-3 is a better team than Morehead St., and if Kentucky plays around with them, they could usher out the longest home winning streak in the nation on Friday.

I get this team is young. It drives me crazy, though, to watch Alex Poythress play. One minute, Poytress is like some kind of basketball Thor, God of the Thunder Dunk. The next, he stands by and watches a smaller, slower player drive right past his face for a short jumper. No wonder Calipari has to scream at these guys -- it's either that or go batshit crazy right in front of 25,000 fans. It's no doubt taken a Herculean effort in self-control to keep him from going all Terrance Jones on some of these guys. Thank God nobody but my wife could hear me the other night... well, except the aforementioned Diety, to whom I had to issue numerous abasements and apologies after the game.

What does the future hold for this team? I wish I knew, and in a way, that makes it all the more interesting. Look, we all knew last year's team was going to be great when they handled Kansas and beat North Carolina. There was really no mystery there, except whether or not they would find a way to lose what was theirs to lose all along.

This year's team? Sherlock Holmes couldn't divine the future of this team with help from the late, great Carnac the Magnificent. This team has as much talent as any we've had at UK including last year's, but talent isn't the only thing it takes to win ball games, as Kentucky nearly discovered last night.

Finally, Ryan Harrow. I have to tell you people I am a little tired of hearing comparisons to Stacey Poole -- in my view that's not only off base, it's disrespectful and discourteous. Nobody loses seven pounds from fear of the spotlight, and family issues often crop up that have no relationship to a person's current position in life. May I respectfully suggest that we give this young man the benefit of the doubt, and treat him like a part of our family instead of some kind of object?

Sorry for going off the rails there a little, I just had to get that out. Anyway, it's off the fleshpots for me, and here's wishing all of you and yours a happy and pleasant Thanksgiving holiday. May the blessings of the season be richly upon you and your families, and Petra and I wish you all the most splendid and restful of holidays.

Oh, and just one more thing: Vote for Ashley Frazier for the Senior CLASS award.