Imagine a tournament game where your best shooter is cold as ice. The player of the year plays limited minutes and eventually fouls out. Your team shoots an anemic 10% on 20 attempts from the outside. And over the course of 40 minutes, you trail in 37 of those minutes. It does not take a lot of imagination to realize that this game is not going to be a good one for you.
However, with the same imagination – what if you were still in the game with a shot, in spite of the fact that you played that poorly?
You did not have to imagine that at all during Kentucky’s semifinal loss to Tennessee in the SEC tournament. They played badly, to say the least, and although a huge disappointment for Big Blue Nation, there were moments in the closing minutes that UK found themselves, amazingly – still in the game.
Keion Brooks said, “We could have game up, we still pushed it, and still had a chance to win, so it’s a tough loss.”
Oscar Tshiebwe had this to add to the mix. “This was kind of an off day for us. We really didn’t make a shot. We still have our confidence and we’re going to be ready next week.”
Tshiebwe understands, while Kentucky fans watched the game, Oscar lived through it. There are some days that things just don’t work out the way you had hoped. Yet as tough as the day was there were in the closing minutes of the game, signs of life and hope that victory was still possible. That is what Brooks was talking about as he described that the team kept pushing it. That is what Tshiebwe is referring to when he admits the team had an off shooting night but they are still confident and they are going to be ready.
Would it have been nice to have won and played into the one seed for the NCAA Tournament? Without a doubt.
But there are just some days that no matter what you do, it just doesn’t work, things don’t come together, and it just doesn’t gel. That was the Tennessee game and that was the past – the future is the Big Dance.
After an afternoon of yelling at his least favorite officials Pat Adams and Doug Shows with verbal jousting that could be heard by all along the sidelines…
“Great call Doug,” and “Way to go, Pat”…. as Kentucky watched the striped officials take way too many trips to watch the replay monitor to review what should have been apparent – and as he had to endure one of the worst shooting afternoons this team has ever suffered, Coach Calipari summarizes what is next. “I think we’re in really good shape.”
That is NOT his imagination – that is reality. This team lost yesterday but they are in good shape and teams across the nation need to be wary of a team that played as sluggishly has Kentucky but still had a chance to win.
The Revenge Tour has been successful but it is not over yet.