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Kentucky Wildcats 85 at Arkansas Razorbacks 87: Post Game Groan

We knew it would be tough. It was just a little too tough in Fayetteville.

The kind of game it was.
The kind of game it was.
Wesley Hitt

Well, one thing you know about every season is that there is going to be one game where Kentucky gets beat in dramatic fashion. It never fails. It happened in 2012, it happened again tonight. I don't remember last year. Didn't happen.

That's enough to know about this game right now. Look, it's not nice to complain about the officiating, and I've done more than my share. You have to give Arkansas all the credit - they played hard, they fought, battled, scrapped, and in the end, it was a failed block out, the most fundamental of all basketball plays, that beat Kentucky. We may want to blame the officials for bad calls, and I think they are blameworthy, but the bottom line is, Arkansas won by making a play when it counted. Give them the credit they are due, and they are due plenty.

The postmortem will be coming along tomorrow morning, I'm just getting too damn old to stay up until 2:00 on a work night. Sorry about that. But here are some quick observations:

  • This is a bad loss in the NCAA seeding scheme of things, but it may do more for this team in the long run than a close win would have. If there is such a thing as a terrific loss, this was it. It may be the only one in history, but given the adversity that Kentucky faced, and nearly overcame, it was the best loss I can remember in a long while.

  • Julius Randle has finally decided to take interest in the game. Nice to have him with us again.

  • Alex Poythress, except for the play that cost us the game (correction, it was James Young according to Calipari) played his best game ever by a mile.

  • The effort Kentucky expended on defense was incredible.

  • Turnovers. What happened? Seriously, it's almost like we didn't want the ball.

  • I saw a lot of toughness on both sides tonight. This was the most physical game I have seen in the SEC in years, maybe decades. In the second half, a foul could have been called on every single possession but a couple of breakaway dunks. To think that freshmen could hold their own against a much older team in a game this physical takes a lot of the sting away.

  • Think about last year's team compared to this one just a minute. Think about it.

  • Given the shape of college basketball right now, we may yet get enough help to get a top two seed if we can avoid losing more than one more game. This was always going to be tough.

  • Free throw shooting. I have no words.

Okay, that's enough. I'll have something more coherent in the morning. I'm just too burned out to actually to anything but emote right now. I hate losing these things, but the reality is, you just can't win them all. This was a great effort that came up just short in perhaps the toughest environment Kentucky will face all year. I can't help but be encouraged, even as I'm discouraged.  I'd like to have seen anything but a breakdown cost us the game, but that's just sometimes how these things go.