More flux = More court storming.
On Monday’s SEC teleconference, Calipari’s main talking point was how the Cats were a team “in flux.” With Harrow and Cauley-Stein both needing time off from the team for various reasons and other players developing at a different rate, the Cats have had a hard time hitting their Dougie simultaneously- which has resulted in a few baffling losses and empty wins (I still remember Vanderbilt, guys).
But the Cats are hardly alone in their inconsistencies. Indiana’s glorious, karmic loss to Illinois on a buzzer-beater last night means that for the fifth week in a row, the #1 team in the country has lost. College basketball itself is in a state of flux, changing from week to week and leaving viewers and analysts alike confused as to who the best team really is. There have been more upsets in college basketball than Kevin Stallings’ stomach after a meal at Golden Corral.
So how does this weird year affect Kentucky and our post-season? Let’s make a pro-con list.
– Our losses don’t look so bad, for the most part. Looking back, UK’s six losses have come to Duke, Notre Dame, Baylor, Louisville, Texas A&M, and Alabama. Aside from the blowout at Miami, Duke has been one of the few consistent teams this season. Notre Dame and Louisville are still ranked, and Alabama has won out at home in the SEC thus far and remains in the hunt for a bye come SEC tournament time. Baylor has been on a bit of a downward spiral recently but played a strong game against Oklahoma State last night.
– But what about that Texas A&M game? Yeah, that sucked. But look- other top teams in the country have suffered unacceptable losses to lesser teams as well. Duke lost to Miami, Florida lost to Arkansas, Kansas lost to TCU, Louisville lost to Villanova, and Syracuse lost to Villanova AND Pittsburgh. It’s not pretty, but that’s just the way the games are rolling this season. As we get closer to March, it’s looking less and less likely that any team will enter the tournament having won all of its gimme games.
– Uncle Mo is in town. Since the loss at Alabama, the Cats have seemingly pulled it together and won their last four games, including that much-needed “signature win” over
Marshall Henderson Ole Miss. Teams that are on the upswing entering March are looked upon much more favorably by the NCAA Selection Committee, and Kentucky could benefit from their second-half-of-the-season surge.
– The Cats are still under the national radar. After entering the 2012-2013 season with expectations that weigh more than Renardo Sidney placed upon them, the Cats have quietly faded into the background of college basketball chatter. It’s not that they aren’t improving- it’s just that no one seems to be noticing. Amidst all the recent upsets and the revolving door that is the Top 25, Kentucky is kind of getting ignored. Of course, this could be construed as a benefit if you’re one who likes to enter the post-season as an underdog; however, it’d be nice to get that upper-half seeding in March.
– Similarly, our best player is getting less attention than he deserves. Last year, Anthony Davis was the crown jewel of the “Kentucky coronation,” and he reaped countless benefits from the publicity that Kentucky’s domination garnered. Nerlens Noel, on the other hand, has been putting up the same kinds of numbers but receiving much less attention because his team hasn’t been as magical to follow. In the end, it’s about the team’s results, but it’d still be nice for Nerlens’ awe-inspiring contributions to get recognition.
– The Cats could still get bit in the butt. With all the parity in college basketball, a young team like the Cats can’t afford to take one game off. Games against Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi State aren’t gimmes anymore, and the Cats HAVE to keep their momentum going in order to achieve their potential this season.
In short, the Wildcats can use the parity this season to their advantage by capitalizing on their recent momentum and making a late surge before Selection Sunday. Like the rest of college basketball fans, I’ve enjoyed the roller coaster that this season has been. But when it comes to the Cats, I’ll take Team No Flux any day.