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Kentucky Basketball – Second Thoughts and John Lennon

Our team, prior to Tuesday night, had no experience playing in a big stage atmosphere of big stage basketball and they played like it. In spite of all the unforced and forced turnovers and first half hesitancy, they could’ve actually won the game if they hit somewhere around 60% of their free throws.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

I hope those fans whose self-esteem is tied to UK basketball fortunes aren't too depressed. I hope they can handle the reality that the ridiculous dream of going 40-0 is officially over. The fact that 40-0 would be a monumental pipe dream even for the most experienced team. That idea, to me, made those UK fans who actually believed 40-0 sound very much like Louisville fans: delusional.

Think John Lennon with these lyrics:

Imagine the outcome if Julius Randle played the first half like he did the second half. Imagine the outcome if the Harrison's had lived up to their billing as opposed to getting schooled by the more experienced Michigan State players.

Imagine the outcome if Young could actually play defense. While Poythress was slightly better on defense, he made many of the same defensive mistakes as Young. Jay Bilas pointed out over and over that Young and Poythress should have forced the guy they were guarding into the set screen, but they repeatedly failed to defend the path to the basket.

Imagine the outcome if our guards got WCS more involved in the offense.

All four teams that played in Chicago Tuesday night have lessons learned and all four teams are good while none are great right now. And, they will be better for it come March and April for having played in the Windy City. Duke and Kentucky lost. Big Whoop! Michigan State and Kansas won. Big Whoop! It's November.

You tell me who learned more about their team since Sunday based on who each A/P top 25 team played over the past seven days.  I've highlighted those teams that I think learned more than the rest. Those teams that played cupcakes are simply padding their schedules. The numbers (inparens) are Sagarin's SOS through Sunday night.

#1 Kentucky (238) lost to # 2 Michigan State (243) 78-74

#3 Louisville (181) beat Hofstra 97-69 at home

#4 Duke (163) lost to #5 Kansas (276) 94-83

#6 Arizona (190) beat Long Beach State on Sunday 91-57 at home

#7 Michigan (299) beat South Carolina State 93-53 at home

#8 Oklahoma State (294) beat Utah Valley (who?) 93-40 at home

#9 Syracuse (231) beat Fordham 89-74

#10 the Ohio State University (228) beat Ohio 79-69 at home

#11 Florida (212) lost to #20 Wisconsin (85) 59-53 at Wisconsin

#12 North Carolina (166) beat Oakland last Friday 84-61 at home

#13 Memphis (0) has not played yet

#14 Virginia Commonwealth (152) beat Virginia (208) 59-56 on the road

#15 Gonzaga (165) beat Colorado State on Monday 93-61 at home

#16 Wichita State (170) beat Western Kentucky 66-49 at home

#17 Marquette (248) beat Grambling 114-71 at home

#18 Oregon (34) beat Georgetown (62) last Friday 82-75 at home

#19 Connecticut (114) beat Yale on Monday 80-62 at home

#21 Notre Dame (219) beat Stetson on Sunday 80-49 at home

#22 New Mexico (289) beat Alabama A&M last Friday 88-52 at home

#23 Baylor (86) beat South Carolina 66-64 at home

#24 UCLA (156) beat Oakland 91-60 at home

Kentucky and Duke will obviously drop in the A/P poll popularity contest. Losing does that to you. They don't hand out trophies for participation and that should be the first lesson learned by our young Cats. Kentucky never should have been ranked #1 in the first place unless the voters were looking to tournament time.

It is very conceivable that the four teams that played in Chicago Tuesday night will become Final Four teams. Imagine that!