The other day, I wrote that we can win this thing. I didn’t say we will win this thing, but we can. The Kansas State Wildcats fought hard, but our size and length were too much on the defensive end of the floor. Next up is Wichita State.
After the Florida game in Gainesville, I wondered if we were going to have our second straight flameout year. My chief complaint all season long was a lack of teamwork. This team was filed in one of those compartments men have the capability of placing things in to protect themselves. I left the door open, pining for a change of attitudes, lamenting the fact that our guys were playing for the name on the back of the jersey, yet holding onto hope they would begin playing for the name on the front of the jersey.
Calipari announced his first Tweak....just before the start of the SEC Tournament. LSU presented a big problem for the team that looked so ugly during the season. That tweak is still secret, but as Jimmy Dykes pointed out, Randle was moved to the right side of the offense, ignoring the fact that "the Tweak" wasn't on the offensive end. No matter, because it worked. In spite of the problems that LSU had caused us during the regular season, the Cats came out with a new attitude and won the game. My love-o-meter needle made a jump and I pull the ugly Cats out of that mental compartment. Now, my only lament is the fact that our victory kept LSU out of the Big Dance.
It was clear from the beginning of the game that the Cats had Georgia on their minds in the second game with a convincing win. Were we ready for Florida? Almost. We let them get a lead early and had to fight, claw and scratch our way out of a blowout. We did everything we needed to do in the second half except win. Young's slip and fall on the last play was heartbreaking, but it also shows what can happen in any basketball game. Many in the BBN felt that the light bulb finally came on during the SEC Tournament, including me. Others were not so sure, and the pessimists could always find the dark clouds as they always do.
The experts treated Kansas State as the favorite, and I got the feeling that the CBS announcers wanted Kentucky to lose more than they cared about Kansas State winning. Vegas said this would be a Kentucky victory and Ken Pomeroy's and Jeff Sagarin's ratings said the same.
Here's my problem with all the "experts"; it doesn't matter if the expert is a computer or a human. The problem with the experts is the past is past and no one knows what team is going to get hot. Ask Duke or Ohio State. The SEC is demeaned every game day as a weak conference, yet all three teams, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee, are still standing as Dick Vitale mourns Duke's fate and the four year love affair with Aaron Craft is finally over. That's why we call it March Madness. Teams who are supposed to win often don't. Kentucky was supposed to beat West Virginia in 2010. They didn't. The 2011 team wasn't supposed to be a Final Four team. They were. The 2012 team were supposed to win it all. They did. Last year's team was supposed to be a good team. They weren't. The Cats are supposed to lose to Wichita State. That question has yet to be answered.
I know many were impressed with their win over Cal Poly. I wasn't. The Shockers were supposed to win and win big. They did. Big Whoop. Cal Poly finished their season with a 14-20 record. While I don't mean to bad mouth Cal Poly, their record speaks for itself.
Wichita State's record stands at a glittering 35-0. Do they play to win against Kentucky or do they play not to lose in order to protect that glitter? Kentucky's strength of schedule ranks #2. The Shockers strength of schedule ranks #121. Wichita State's RPI stands at #5 while the Cats rank #14. You can go to Statsheet.com and look at the pregame matchups and make up your own mind about the strengths and weaknesses.
I say, we can win this thing. I'm not saying we will. I'm saying we can. I'll leave you with this:
After a recent college basketball game, the coach spotted a cell phone lying on the floor. He picked it up and handed it to one of the referees, saying, "Here's your phone."
"What makes you think it's mine?" the ref asked.
"Easy," the coach replied. "It says you missed 13 calls."