Thursday, November 08, 2007

My Thoughts On UK's Loss

Wildcats Thunder Executive Moderator

First, like all UK fans, last night's loss to Gardner-Webb was a huge disappointment. Now I fully understand that these small schools have some good players and are always capable of pulling an upset. In fact, already Michigan St was upset at home by a Division 2 team in an exhibition game and Ohio St lost to Findley at home in an exhibition game. However, in both of those games the margin of loss was 1-2 points. In contrast, UK was really never in the game last night. When has UK trailed any team in the history of Rupp arena 14-0 at the start of a game....if we have.....I don't remember it. UK was flat out outplayed throughout the game....never really in the game. My early season expectations were that the tough man to man defense would help carry the Cats while our offense caught up and got in sync, but last night defense by UK was beyond bad. Unfortunately, last night UK couldn't shoot the ball and couldn't defend on defense.

I commend Gardner-Webb on playing a good solid basketball game, but while I can accept losses.....I don't think any UK fan is happy about the way this loss occurred....a blow out on UK's home court. For whatever reason....UK didn't show up to play!

Every fan obviously has lots of questions regarding last night's game. For example, 1) Have the intense practices taken away the players legs? 2) Have all the players bought into BCG's new way of practicing and playing? 3) Are the players simply having trouble executing the new offense and defense? Is UK's talent this bad? I'm sure everyone can add their own questions. My guess is that BCG and the staff will review and evaluate every aspect as to why this UK played so badly on both ends of the court and make the necessary adjustments or changes deemed necessary.

For my money, this loss was a wake up call for the players, coaches and fans. Importantly, a number of us have been warning that UK fans shouldn't get their expectations too high for this year's team. The frontline recruiting failures in recent years is painfully obvious.....aside from Patterson.....UK does not have a big time talent on the frontline. As shown last night, when Bradley, Crawford and Meeks can't find the basket, the Cats are in serious trouble. Patterson will be a great UK player, but he is still a freshman and is still learning.

In fairness to BCG, he is trying to install a brand new offense and defense and has had only a couple of weeks of practice before starting the season earlier than ever before. There is no question that BCG is a very tough taskmaster and I know it's been a big adjustment, especially for the upper classmen such as Crawford and Bradley. Now, the Cats have 2 weeks of time for practice before the next game and this will be a very important 2 weeks. It is imperative that every single player cooperate 100% with BCG and the coaching staff.

I have supreme confidence in BCG and the coaching staff. As we all know, BCG inherited the situation UK finds itself in regarding lack of frontline talent. In addition, not having Harris and especially Jasper has hurt this team as well. Just think where UK would have been without Patterson and Legion who BCG recruited.

As I said, I'm as disappointed in last night's loss as any UK fan, but it's extremely important that UK fans understand that this will be a season of transition as BCG puts his stamp on the UK program. Billy is a great coach, but, as he has said win with talent.....and right now UK desperately lacks frontline talent! BCG will correct this with future great talented recruits, but in the meantime, he has to play the hand he was dealt.

While last nights game was a bitter pill for UK fans to swallow, the season is just beginning. I look for this UK team to show steady improvement as the year progresses and to have a pretty good year. While UK will have to wait a couple of years, as BCG brings in top talent, to have the opportunity to hang another NCAA championship banner.....the Cats could still pull off some surprises this year. It may be a roller coaster year, but BCG will soon have the Cats among the nation's elite....but not this year!

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