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Dealing with the Next Two Weeks: Making Lemonade

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If you are like me, this has been a rather difficult four days. In fact, if God were attempting to make life miserable for Kentucky fans, he would probably have created this exact scenario. A Kentucky team that is extremely talented and has loads of potential, starts to hit their stride, only to have the heart and soul of the team (and the best player) go down with a season ending knee injury. Most fans give up on the season, only to have the team get everyone’s hopes up again with two huge home wins (where the crowd was phenomenal) versus SEC rivals, only to lose again in an embarrassment at our favorite event (the SEC Tournament). Then, after being left out of the big dance, we play on national television in a highly rated game against a college no one knows existed, only to lose on a missed last second shot. Our season over, we then watch as our biggest rivals (Louisville, Indiana, Florida, Duke) become the tournament favorites and the evil Cardinals go so far as to run roughshod on teams in our home arena. It is a perfect storm of awfulness and one that would seem so painful as to only be created by a Hollywood script writer seeking to punish UK fans for their unadulterated joy at winning #8 last year. In fact, besides the Julius Randle commitment (which admittedly was huge and a potential title maker), this could be classified as one of the worst weeks ever.

BUT with all of that said, we are huge college basketball fans here in Kentucky. This is college basketball’s grandest time and there is no reason for us to spend the next two weeks in misery. Yes, it is likely that a team we do not like will win the title (unfortunately it looks more and more like it will be the Cardinals), but rather than living in pain and dread, it is time to make lemonade and spend the next two weeks thinking positive thoughts and focusing on the good. Here then are Five Positive areas of focus for UK fans in what is otherwise a Tournament of Misery:

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1. Next Year Will be Sensational

Usually when fans in sports talk about “next year” it is the opiate of the masses in attempting to deal with what has gone wrong this year. Not this time. What will happen next season in Lexington is going to be special. Not only is Kentucky going to be crazy good, but they are also going to be UNBELIEVABLY FUN. Remember the first three years? Yes, the Cats won at an unbelievable rate and that winning certainly drove the great time we had watching Kentucky basketball. But there was also a great “traveling circus” feel to the team, bore in large part due to huge personalities and players who loved being a part of Kentucky basketball. The John Wall Dance, Demarcus Cousins asking people to call him, Eric Bledsoe getting sh*t right, Patrick Patterson’s wit, Brandon Knight’s intelligence, Deandre Liggins’ toughness, Jorts’ amazing story, Anthony Davis’s unibrow, MKG’s smile and intensity were all huge parts of making Kentucky basketball more than just what was happening on the court. UK during those first three years was an experience, and one you did not want to miss. That simply wasn’t the case this year for a variety of reasons…we tried with Uncle Julius, Justin Beiber, Nerlens’ Flat Top and BURRRR…but something was missing. That something arrives next year in the form of a team with players who have confidence, swagger and a willingness to embrace their role as target #1. The Harrison Twins “stone cold killer” personality, Julius Randle’s “Hollywood” mindset, Marcus Lee’s ferociousness will combine with Archie’s attack mode, Willie’s hipster development and more to produce a team that is not only great, but is also fun. Kentucky may or may not win the title next year (the Tournament always has some randomness) but they will without question be (a) the best team in America and (b) amazingly entertaining and fun to follow. That is worth looking forward to.

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2. Florida Gulf Coast is the Best College Basketball Story in Years

I freely admit that my number one goal in this Tournament is to see Louisville (and secondarily Indiana) lose. Thus that has caused me to hope some teams win (such as Duke/Ohio State, etc) that normally I would pull against, as they represent the best chance for the Cards/Hoosiers to go down. But even that goal becomes secondary to cheering for this amazingly fun Florida Gulf Coast team. They play the game of basketball like you want to see it played, free, flowing and with complete joy. They throw lobs, shake people out of their shorts and celebrate like kids at the happiest moment of their life. Everything about their story is impressive. From the chicken dance they do after big plays:

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To the fact that their Assistant Coach Michael Fly is a UK graduate:

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To the absurd white boy manager gang signs in the locker room celebration (I love this picture)

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To of course their coach, who is not only a self-made millionaire (after helping start a company), but is also married to this Maxim model:

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They are the great American story, from style of play to their role as the first #15 seed to ever make the Sweet 16. If you can’t get behind this, you don’t have a pulse. Yes, they play Florida in the next round and the dream probably ends. But think about what it will mean to these guys to play Big Brother Florida in Cowboy Stadium next week as the nation watches on. #FGCU…it’s what college basketball is all about.

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3. It’s Not Over for Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins is the best high school player I have seen since Lebron. That sentence is loaded, but for me, it is true. Two weeks ago I had all but given up on him coming to Kentucky. The sense I had from those in the know is that it was simply unlikely that in the end the trigger would be pulled and he would become a Cat. But now, the feeling has changed. All of a sudden, the thought of adding Andrew Wiggins to the current class (and producing what ESPN’s Chad Ford says would be the “greatest collection of talent in college basketball history”) is not out of the realm of possibility. Many of the same folks who told me that it simply wasn’t in the cards, now have a slight spring in their step as to the possibility of Wiggins becoming a Cat. Why? It’s hard to say. Wiggins keeps everything very close to the vest and I am not sure anyone really knows what he is thinking. But there is some reason that those around Lexington are more positive on the subject, and thus I am more positive as well. I still would suggest that the not getting Wiggins is more likely than getting him…but the Cats are in the game and have a very reasonable shot. And when you are talking about the best since King James, that can’t help but make you excited.

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4. The UK Women Have a Real Shot at a Final Four

Basketball is not over for the Big Blue. After an initial struggle today, the UK women defeated Navy 61-41 to move to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Their next game in Queens will be against Dayton, a team with 31 wins and a pedigree that some consider underrated. As you know, this UK women’s team is fun to watch and they have built a program for the last few years for this moment. They are in a region with traditional power UCONN, but this is a Husky team that can be beat. The Cats have the players to get to the Regional Final and lay it all on the line for what could be the first ever Final Four bid in school history. Matthew Mitchell has done an absolutely phenomenal job, but it is often overlooked simply because of the juggernaut that Calipari has produced. But now in this down year on the men’s side, the womens’ team has a chance to make national headlines and galvanize the state over the next week or so. They play Tuesday night on ESPN2 and fans can look forward to a chance for the Big Blue to continue marching in a Tournament.

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5. You can Legitimately Look Forward to UK Football

I can’t even express in words how impressed I am with this new UK football staff and the attitude that is sweeping the UK program. The vibe is different around Nutter and there is a belief in what can be accomplished that I think will make huge strides for UK football. The Spring game is upcoming, but more importantly, you can follow daily the changes around the FB staff and players after these Spring Practices. There is a new edge around everything from nutrition to the videos that have been utilized by the marketing staff. Putting mics on the coaches, players and everyone involved (such as the video below with the DL coach Jimmy Brumbaugh) makes a “reality show” feel to this team that can get you excited about next season. Forget the realism of the task ahead (Phil Steele says UK has the hardest schedule in America next year) and get swept up in the excitement. UK football is going to improve and you should be interested.

Things aren’t perfect…these next two weeks are going to be tough, especially if the axis of evil in Louisville and Bloomington keep a path to meeting each other in the finals. But we can persevere and the future is bright. So stay positive, listen to KSR radio (10 am to noon…it is good for your soul) and remember, a bad day as a UK fan is better than any day in Red.

Article written by Matt Jones

59 Comments for Dealing with the Next Two Weeks: Making Lemonade



  1. Fivestarcat
    10:46 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Silver lining: only one team can win the title. Either way, at least one of the UofL or IU fanbases will be devastated. Both have teams that are title or bust.



  2. Andy
    10:48 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Have heard that Wiggins doesn’t want the spotlight on him. With the collection of talent at UK next season seems like he’d have a much greater chance of “blending in” there than he would at Florida State.



  3. Archie
    10:49 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I understand how transformative a player wiggins is but I wouldn’t be heart broken if he chose somewhere else and we ended adding Hawkins. Don’t get me wrong I want him to sign and obviously we go to another level with him.



  4. Burr
    10:51 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    FGCU is no joke. They beat miami and are a very athletic team. Will give Florida all they want



  5. HEHATEME
    10:54 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Damn Homie. How about breaking things down into paragraphs? Kind of hard to read. Anyway…good stuff.



  6. KyBlueRay
    11:00 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Yes,I definitely could “get behind that”!!Or any other way she ask.Seriously great story with FLGC!



  7. Bmac
    11:01 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    UCLA coach fired. Key calapari to UCLA rumors.



  8. Al's IndiCats
    11:01 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    2, this has been said at least a 1000 of times, he can go anywhere and be doubled and triple teamed EVERY game, be a star of that team and then…..go to the draft……
    He comes to UK and he’ll not only will he be a star……but he’ll be a part of an Uncharted “Galaxy: in the HISTORY of collegent basketball that could very well be an undefeatable team. That in itself would be concidered the GOLD STANDARD of college basketball! GO CATS!



  9. Bmac
    11:01 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Que



  10. Travis in e town sucks
    11:02 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I will be calling with my boring calls all week! Stay tuned to KSR!



  11. Stephen
    11:02 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Michael Fly say what!!!



  12. mashburnfan1
    11:04 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    FGCU did not even win the Atlantic Sun regular season, Mercer did. They have losses to Maine, Mercer, Stetson, E. Tenn St and Lipscomb twice. Were blown out by VCU and Duke but did beat Miami in 2nd game of year.Still UF is not that good if they have an off shooting night like they did against us. If we can beat UF then I think this FGCU team can make it happen, anything can happen in 1 game. I will root for anyone vs UF.



  13. Al's IndiCats
    11:07 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve had a beer or………..29



  14. Randy Marsh
    11:08 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Nice article, Matt.



  15. Kyle
    11:11 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Michael Fly!! A UK grad and former roommate of mine. Congrats to him!



  16. stupid stupid
    11:17 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Why the hell do people keep saying undefeated season. If we keep that crap up karma is going to bite us on the ass and we will choke. And for gods sake plz do not talk sh## to IU and UL fans by saying this. Then it will happen for sure.



  17. Catlogic15
    11:25 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    We must have faith in the tweet from King Rex.



  18. Brink
    11:25 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    16 I talked sh## to IU and UL fans all year last year. How did that work out for us. You me or anybody else here as any effect on the outcome of basketball games.



  19. Yo
    11:29 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    # 16, calm down Francis.



  20. Mack
    11:31 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I posted this link on the previous article about recruiting Gordon concerning Wiggins and his coach, still not certain if it is a smoke screen:

    http://www.herald-dispatch.com/sports/highschool/x2114944587/Wiggins-weighs-his-options?r=p



  21. 19
    11:35 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    After about 160 games at IU, crean finally eclipsed the .500 mark. So I guess yes, in a few years they didn’t lose in the NIT since they didnt make it that far.



  22. Pat Knight
    11:44 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    16,Last year’s team there were only two hiccups on our way to a NC…….with the collection of talent thats coming in this could be 1012 team X 4………This isn’t a regular collection of HS basketball talent by no means. This could a team With the combination of Wiggins with the rest of these recruits….I think I could be disappointed if they only won by 10 on their way to the Crown!



  23. Bleed Blue
    11:54 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    @20 that is nothing. UK is leader for him over UNC. FSU is basically out of the equation. We lead 70/30 as of right now and I believe he will commit at the Jordan Brand game or around April 6th.



  24. John Ellis
    11:56 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Given that Florida GC is in Naples/Ft. Meyers, which is Big Lex South, there is a team to root for.

    And Wiggins wouldn’t take the class coming into another level, it’s the greatest recruiting class ever as is. He would just enhance that level more. Actually a lot of pressure on Cal in that regard, if next year is a disappointment, then you can question his coaching. They were talking about how the FLGC coach makes practices loose like the NBA – exactly how Cal coaches but it didn’t work with this batch. However if Nerlens had not gotten injured, a good chance they might still be playing, depending on their draw. Still a chance he comes back and you will have the most talented 15 players ever assembled on one team by a mile.



  25. JBR
    11:59 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Unusually light and positive article here, Matt…and I know that you always like to cover up for your boys and you have more excuses than a lawy…oh, yeah…well…the statement that is pretty absurd is you making excuses for the team with Noel going down, and saying they were “hitting their stride”. You act like we were a final four team until Noel went down. Look, Noel is a stud…best player in the country in my opinion. But, we were a team that sucked and had no heart, but had ONE great player with Noel…and when he went down, we were a team that sucked that had no heart (minus a great player). These guys’ attitudes did not change when he went down. They were soft before, and they were soft after…we just didn’t have that eraser inside anymore.



  26. Hartline
    12:00 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Woah #23 is dropping some bold predictions. Bleed Blue knows all!



  27. hahahaha
    12:07 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    I liked the post other than number 1. None of that sh!t matters…a fun team is a winning team, that’s it



  28. inside info
    12:09 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    23 & 26–Matt is privately telling people he thinks we are getting Wiggins. Not sure why he is saying publicly the above statements.



  29. Big blue wildcat 1
    12:20 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Anybody know anything about 22ft academy here in Kentucky? Sounds like a future prep school but I’m surprised I’m just now hearing some about it.



  30. hey 18
    12:21 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    18 We all talked shit this year about how we are gonna repeat. How did that work out for us.



  31. 29
    12:22 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    They will no longer be in KY is the last I have heard the state dicked them over.



  32. Kim
    12:27 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Matt does what Mitch tells him to do, publically



  33. JBR
    12:28 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    What I neglected to say is I suck worse than this year’s team ever did. I am so jealous of Matt that I can’t help but criticize everything he writes. I know I’ll never be as successful as Matt so I’ll just continue to get on here and pretend I’m a bigshot knowitall.



  34. James
    12:38 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    @23 Not saying that I don’t believe you, I definitely want to believe that to be true, but how do you know this info if Wiggins has been tight-lipped throughout this whole process. The only way I can surely believe anything is if it comes from the horses’ mouth, his family, or his coach.



  35. Bleed Blue
    12:51 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    @34 If it was really as tight lip as everybody makes it out to be King Rex wouldn’t have tweeted out what he said the other day. I think they are just saying that to keep all the so called “insiders” out. Just because the insiders think has been tight lipped doesn’t mean anything. The same thing was being said when he was thinking about reclassifying, but the person I talked to told me about 3 months before it happened that it was going to happen.



  36. stmcats03
    1:01 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    7… Why would there ever be Calipari to ucla rumors? Think about that for a second.



  37. James
    1:02 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Having 6 Uk commitments around him at the Mcdonald’s game and Jordan Brand, can only help Uk’s chances. It’s going to be really fun to watch what happens over the next few weeks what kind of affect Randle’s decision has on him. I can’t wait until the Jordan Brand game, though. Seeing both Harrisons, Randle and Wiggins on the same team, could be a glimpse of what’s in store for us next year.



  38. Baracka Flaka Flame
    1:32 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Great article. But the manager is actually throwing up the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) sign, not a gang sign.



  39. Han
    2:10 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    I wonder what the line in Vegas is on Florida Gulf Coast to win it all?

    36) Doesn’t matter if we all know it’s BS. Every year the talking heads try to make it a discussion.



  40. SeaCat
    2:22 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    between Bleed Blue and Rex
    i feel better about Wonder Man Wiggins.
    But, to be deb downer,
    Amanda Marcum’s bikini is a bit too extensive…
    Smaller would be better…



  41. JBR
    2:34 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Hilarious 33 that a coward like you tries to cut somebody down on a board that is FOR THE VERY REASON FOR PEOPLE TO GIVE OPINIONS…that is it. Now, go back to your trailer park and your skank wife.



  42. travis
    3:19 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    None of this comes from us fans hyping them. That effects nothing. It comes from the program. Coach Cal and the staff all thought they were going to be great, they had been the past three years so of course this year would be no different, right? Well i dont think that mistake will be made by them again. Lesson learned. Even though we are thinking of an undefeated season there is no doubt that this class is superior to any we or any other program has ever had and if you combine that with the lingering thought of this seasons failures everybody is going to be working twice as hard with twice as much talent and twice as much experience. There is no doubt that this staff is going to put their foot down in a major way. So go ahead and enjoy the ride and dream of a great season cause there is nothing holding us back!



  43. SamKat
    5:34 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Great job of writing, Matt!

    I am praying that Wiggins signs with our Wildcats! He is a huge get for the program and perhaps the best ever!

    GO CATS!



  44. Drew
    7:29 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    I understand Matt wanting Louisville and Indiana to lose, but if it comes down to Louisville or Indiana Im pulling for the Louisville…Indiana fans are the most obnoxious fans i’ve ever seen.
    And sorry, Matt..I will NEVER be for Duke against any team, not even UL or IU. I hate those pricks worse than anybody.



  45. btowcatfan
    7:36 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    All you other fans can just suck it for the next two weeks. Until 4/8/2013 we are still national champs. BTW right now it looks to me like it’s Louisville’s to lose, oh how I hate saying that. Indiana was exposed last night (8 fouls in 40 minutes of basketball!).



  46. RahRah
    7:48 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Not sure why everyone is so impressed with 2 admittedly great wins for Louisville…….over teams that are questionable at best. Floater games for the #1 #1 seed, as it should be. They will be in big trouble if the refs ever start calling fouls as they should. I would think that would happen against Duke or Michigan St. but could be wrong. They may let them smack and push off all the way to the championship. I also really don’t think their guard team can keep shooting well consistantly.

    Saw what you did up there, Matt, with Archie & Willie coming back. Sure would make this fan happy.
    CATS 2014!



  47. Brink
    8:07 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Hey 30, if you did that then your an idiot. I knew this team wasn’t going to win a title. I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was though.



  48. klassact32
    8:12 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    I have said since the Vandy loss in the SEC tourney this was going to be a miserable three weeks. You keep saying next year, sorry I don’t feel your excitement. As far as I am concerned it is like this years teams, a bunch of freshmen coming together to play at UK. Until they play some games and prove themselves I’ll not get excited about next years team.



  49. blueblue
    8:45 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    UCLA and Shabazz Muhammad are providing good recruiting press for Cal and UK. Look what happens when an elite recruit doesn’t choose Lexington. Coming into the season, Muhammad was supposed to challenge Noel for the #1 draft spot. Don’t hear that kind of talk now.



  50. IU Fan
    9:28 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    #50 So this is a good recruiting press fo Cal and UK??? Look what happens when an elite recruit doesn’t choose Lexington? LMFAO…didn’t UCLA actually make the NCAA Tournament and UK didn’t?????
    HOOSIERS, BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  51. Cotton Mash
    9:30 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    What #45 said.



  52. Aja
    9:52 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Legitimately look forward to football? The IMG spin machine can only turn so fast. You can shoot only so much you tube video and design a finite amount of graphics and slogans. I can appreciate the enthusiasm and the effort. But substantively, it will largely be the same group of players on the field. What could well be illustrative will be exposing the depths to which the previous coaching effort had fallen if in fact these players respond.



  53. bosshog
    10:05 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Even if we don’t get Wiggins (which I don’t think will happen), which team in college history would rank above next year’s team (assuming that 2-3 of the freshmen return)? I suppose you could say the 96 Kentucky team, maybe one of the North Carolina teams…but not even those teams had as many people in the lottery-and first round overall-as this team could quite likely have.



  54. Larry
    2:33 pm March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Matt,
    Great job on the article. I feel the same as you. Don’t want those filthy Cards or stupid Hoosiers to win. Hate them both. Then comes Tennessee and Duke.All the filthy Card Trolls who get on the sight and stink it up with all their crap. The Cats will be back and soon. Coach Cal is the right man for the job. We just had weak guard play. You got to have good guards to win in high school and even better ones in cillege. So we will pull for UFGC in the ncaa. Hopefully Coach Cal will never listen to these trolls and assholes who spit all this crap about his coaching ability. How many of them ever won a championship or played any sport except with themselves. You and Drew keep up the great work.



  55. whysoserious
    2:34 pm March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Wait…..

    I thought Louisville did not exist? If a team that does not exist wins the tournament, doesn’t that create some type of metaphysical dilemma?



  56. Jana
    3:29 pm March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Doesn’t Wiggins have to declare before the start of school next year??? Come on, it may be snowing but it is still March 25th! I’m sure he’ll have trouble getting into the classes he wants at UK if he doesn’t hurry up and decide to become a Wildcat! Yes, I’m joking there…



  57. GoBigBlueSusieQ
    5:46 pm March 25, 2013 Permalink

    I’m still mad at Ashley Judd about that remark about Louisville success being good for the state. Screw that! No self respecting Cat Fan would say that! I smell the stench of politics.



  58. CRMcD
    4:12 am March 26, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t forget about Georgetown (Ky) winning their National NAIA Championship! Our true little bro!