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2014 NCAA Tournament: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Kansas St. Wildcats - Live Game Thread

The time is now, Kentucky fans. We must rise above, or sink below.

Here we are, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation. Here is where we lay it all on the line. All our disappointment. All our aborted dreams. All the pain and all the sadness of a season that utterly failed to live up to expectations. Now begins the afterlife, the second season. This time pays for all.

Tonight's foe is the Kansas State Wildcats, and a worthy foe they are. Make no mistake, even though Kentucky appears superior on paper, this bunch is as competitive as they come. They are also young, by non-Kentucky lights, but they have plenty of talent and all kinds of desire. If you are even thinking that the Kentucky Wildcats are going to run away with this game, may I respectfully suggest you disabuse yourself of that notion instanter. This game will be a cat fight between one talented, huge team and one less talented, tough, smaller team. Too often for our liking, the little guy wins these things.

Essentials for victory

  • Rebounding — This is the one abject, total advantage Kentucky has. They must exploit it.

  • Poise — Kentucky, and in particular Andrew Harrison, has lacked poise far too often this season. They will need some tonight.

  • Focus — I don't really need to expound on this, but I will, lest this be the last time. Kentucky must not lose focus if they happen to get a significant lead.

  • Fearlessness — If Kentucky gets open from the arc, they need to shoot the shot. Pass the ball if there is something better, but don't pass up open looks, we won't get many against this stingy K-State defense.

  • Take care of the ball — When Kentucky has lost, turnovers were usually a major factor.

  • Trust — Kentucky must trust each other on defense, and on offense. They must believe in their teammate. Every time, in every situation, including the subs.

This is that rare season, that rare occasion, where the Wildcats have a chance to win from an unexpected position. That would just add to the legend of the already legendary Kentucky program.

I have, and I expect few Kentucky fans have, any animosity toward the Kansas St. Wildcats. In fact, as rivals of the Kansas Jayhawks, the old saying, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" may be the dominant perspective. But tonight, they stand between Kentucky and #9. That means they must be dismissed.

Let's get this done. Go, 'Cats!