This season has been a roller coaster ride of emotions. From a Top 5 preseason ranking to the gloss and glitz of ESPN’s All-Access series, expectations were higher than Nerlens’ flat top. A bumpy non-conference ride reined us back to Earth, where we realized that this team and its freshmen were very different than their predecessors. After Nerlens Noel went down with a torn ACL and the team lost by 30 to Tennessee, many wrote off this squad’s chances and resigned themselves to filling out a bracket that didn’t include the Cats. When the team regrouped to beat Vanderbilt, Missouri and Mississippi State, hopes were high across the Bluegrass once again, only to be deflated when the group stumbled at Arkansas.
For the first Monday of March, it is awfully quiet around here. Is the silence a sign of apathy about this squad’s chances of making the tournament, a hangover from Saturday, or did the BBN get a hold of some of Cal’s extra pain meds from today’s dental procedure? After reading your comments on the site and Twitter, here’s the range of emotions I see in the BBN right now:
Is it next season yet? — You’ve accepted that this team just doesn’t have what it takes. You’ll tune into games for the first few minutes to see how the Cats play, and at the first Archie Goodwin head first drive, you’re searching for chores to do around the house. The light at the end of the tunnel? The Harrison Twins, James Young, Marcus Lee, Dakari Johnson, and maybe even Andrew Wiggins or Julius Randle. There’s always next year.
Projected finish: 40-0 and the school’s ninth National Championship…next year
Apathetic — You’re done stressing out about this squad. As Cal constantly puts it, “We are what we are,” and right now, that’s a very incomplete team with few players giving their all each night out. If they don’t show the effort, why should you? You’ll tune in, but won’t read too much into their wins or losses. If they make the Tournament–great. If not, there’s plenty of golf and “Duck Dynasty” reruns to keep you occupied.
Projected finish: Who cares?
Doubtful — Listen, this group has had their moments. The win over Missouri was exciting, and maybe they can win one in Nashville to keep the BBN partying. But, the Cats’ loss to Arkansas revealed some fatal flaws that not even “do or die” momentum can cover up. There are certain players on this team who don’t fit into Cal’s system right now, and if they don’t bend to the will of the team in the next week, it will be a very quiet March in the Bluegrass.
Projected finish: Win over Georgia, lose to Florida, lose the first game in the SEC Tournament, miss the cut in the NCAA Tournament
Still hopeful — The win over Missouri shows me this team can still do something. Losing at Arkansas is nothing to be too concerned about since everyone but Syracuse has lost there this season, including Florida. Sure, Ryan Harrow, Alex Poythress, and Kyle Wiltjer practically disappeared, but there’s still time to turn it around before Nashville. A win over Georgia, a close game against Florida, and practically a home crowd at the SEC Tournament will give this team the momentum it needs to at least make the Tournament.
Projected finish: Win over Georgia, toss-up against Florida, two wins in the SEC Tournament, make the NCAA Tournament
Final Four or bust — You are drunk. Go home.
Projected finish: Win out, Win SEC Tournament, Win all the honky tonks, Win NCAA Tournament
Which best describes your feelings about this team’s current state?