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A Requiem for November Basketball

Oh, November basketball. Where did you go?

Each fall, you return from your long summer vacation and give us November dreams of March glory. You give us the Champions Classic (which would have been this week), thrusting our young stars into a thrilling trial-by-fire in the season’s first days. You give us something to get excited about during that part of the football season when UK drives us crazy by finally “working out the kinks” right before losing to Tennessee again. You give us a schedule of cupcake matchups that we love to complain about, but never really appreciate. You raise our hopes to the moon, then dash them, often within days.

Oh, November basketball. Where did you go?

Last year, you gave us Tyrese Maxey lighting up Michigan State in his collegiate debut, including one of the sharpest dagger shots you’ll ever see, which earned not one but two “Are you serious??” calls from Dick Vitale in the clip below. The fun was short-lived, but wasn’t it worth it?

In 2018, you gave us the VMI Bubba Parham game, which is just as outrageous today as the day it happened. In 2016, you gave us De’Aaron Fox‘s infamously controversial triple-double against Arizona State, only the second in program history, which would put him in the illustrious company of Chris Mills and (about a month later) Isaiah Briscoe. And in 2015, you gave us a cathartic, fast-paced win against defending champion Duke, who, y’know, Kentucky would’ve totally beaten the previous spring if they hadn’t lost a certain game to Wisconsin.

Oh, November basketball. Where did you go?

In 2014, you gave us an astounding six-game stretch of basketball—wins against Grand Canyon, Buffalo, Kansas, Boston, Montana St. and UT-Arlington—during which UK’s average margin of victory was THIRTY-SEVEN POINTS. And that doesn’t even include the game a week later when they almost shut out UCLA for an entire half. Those boys really could play some defense.

In 2011, you gave us the coming-out party of a young, bristly-browed man named Anthony Davis. He totaled 23 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in his first college game against Marist, then followed it up a few days later with 14, six and seven against 12th-ranked Kansas, whom the Cats would ultimately beat again in April for the championship.

In 2010, you gave us the Maui Invitational game when a freshman Terrence Jones went off against Washington—the very team he once committed to play for—to the tune of 16 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks. As I recall, the UDub message boards were entertaining that night.

And in 2009, you gave us the moment when John Wall did this in his first career game.

Incidentally, this shot was the inspiration for my own 11-year-old driveway basketball fantasies for months to come. I can still hear it in my head: “Wall for the win…yes! Wait no, rimmed out, dammit. Wall for the off-balance put-back… yes!! The crowd is going WILD!”

Oh, November basketball. Where did you go?

Now my calendar tells me you’ve arrived, but instead of scintillating debuts and tense blue-blood battles in Madison Square Garden, you’re giving us nothing but socially-distanced rocks to kick. (And a tentative promise of tip-off action in Lexington Thanksgiving week.)

Oh, November basketball, you are a cruel mistress. You suck sometimes, but still, we miss you so. Please come back soon.

Sincerely, the Big Blue Nation.

Article written by Wynn McDonald

You fellas have nothing to worry about, I'm a professional. @twynstagram

1 Comment for A Requiem for November Basketball

  1. mashman 93
    9:40 pm November 1, 2020 Permalink

    November basketball didn’t go anywhere it’s just starting a little later this year. GO CATS!!