Last night’s radio show was interesting to me for a number of reasons. First, for the initial time in our new time slot, folks were lighting up the lines to talk about Kentucky basketball. The general reaction was one of utter frustration, however unlike last year after the losses to Gardner Webb and San Diego, the complaints werent the same. Last year much of the talk was about casting blame….Porter/Coury were terrible, Tubby sucks for leaving no players, Bradley/Crawford have no heart, etc. The one person that no one blamed was Gillispie. Fast forward to last night and it was reversed. There was still groaning about Porter (there may always be), but Tubby’s name was only raised once and the general consensus was that Gillsipie completely screwed the pooch. Even strong fans of Gillispie (a group that I consider myself a part of) were mystified by his lack of in-game adjustments and losing to a team with such a HUGE talent discrepancy as VMI. It was a night of ranting, and I was amazed at how much was, for the first time, headed in the direction of the coach. No one was excusing the team’s performance….something that was good to see and signaled a true transition into a new era for this program, the Billy Gillispie era.
But that is now over. The great thing about college basketball is that you cant dwell for too long on one regular season loss. The national media has taken their shots and now it is time for a huge matchup with UNC. ESPN is building this game as the kickoff to college basketball and it will get a sizeable national audience. So what will Kentucky do? Without Tyler Hansbrough and Marcus Ginyard, I dont think the talent discrepancies between the two teams are all that large. UNC has relied on Tyler Hansbrough for so long, that having him out could make their offense run a bit more disjointed. It is thus not unfathomable that Kentucky shows up, plays pretty well and is in it with ten minutes to go….a result that I would be more than pleased with.
Thus, at least for the near future, we probably need to erase VMI from our collective minds. It could be the case that the game is another indication of something worrisome or it could be the ultimate fluke, related to nothing and not destined to repeat. We shall see. But we wont know for some time, and thus it is time to just forget the Keydets exist. Take all that animosity and put it to something useful…..like making fun of Tyler Zeller…..he will give you much ammunition.