Internet issues at the Compound mean this post is coming by phone and without the usual bells and whistles. Today was a great day in Rupp Arena where the magic again seemed back and the energy was vibrant. Whereas most offensive possessions this year have seemed like a Nebraska football “three yards and a cloud of dust” gameplan, today it seemed as if the Cats legitimately could score anytime they got the ball. For most of the year, fans felt confident only if the Seniors or Patterson had the ball, but now offense is flowing from Stevenson, Harris and Jasper. Down 9 early, the game doesn’t feel like a certain rout, but a potential energetic comeback. What has been lacking in the hallowed halls the most over the last couple of years, the sense of great potential, now is there in abundance. Which of course makes one wonder…..Just how far can this team go?
When Patrick Patterson went down, a feeling set in across the Big Blue Nation that the season was all but over. Even the most optimistic UK fan spoke of just hoping to sneak into the NCAA and no one believed a run was left in this group of Cats. But now things have changed….not for the guys in the locker room, who Billy clyde made clear today had never stopped believing, but for the fan base and the college basketball world as a whole. It now seems concievable that the Cats can make noise this postseason and do more than just show up to the dance. In Atlanta this weekend, the Cats get a bye and then likely face an Ole Miss team that has struggled down the stretch and provides some matchup problems with Dewayne Curtis down low. However if the Seniors are hitting shots, is it not possible the Cats could win? The next game sees the Cats playing the Miss St-Fla winner and because I think the Gators beat the Bulldogs to punch an NCAA ticket, a rematch with Billy D is on the horizon. Is it not possible the Cats could repeat what we saw today again on Saturday? And then what if the Vols are there in the finals….why not a chance to finish what the Cats got started in Knoxville?
In the SEC and the NCAA the next week, the Cats success is all about matchups. When the Cats play a team with only one strong big guy, they now have the capabilities to beat almost anyone. There are a small handful of teams with likely too much talent for the Cats….UCLA, UNC and Kansas would be in that group. And there are a couple of teams that would hurt UK from a matchup prospective….Louisville and Stanford fit that category. But aside from that group, at this point is it not possible UK could beat anybody? If the Cats were a 10 seed playing Pitt in the first round and Texas in the 2nd, why couldn’t they go to the Sweet 16? At this point, this team has shown enough to give fans the emotion that March is truly all about….the ability to dream. Its about to get really fun folks…..hang on for the ride!