I feel like a lot this season we have found reasons to justify various performances by the Cats, both in wins and losses. For example:
-Missing Jared Vanderbilt early in the season
-Quade Green injury
-PJ Washington foul trouble against Tennessee
-Bounce back performance against Vandy after big win over West Virginia
-Of course, youth of the team
Some of these excuses have been more legitimate than others but nonetheless they have been the talking points throughout the year. I think starting tomorrow, the excuses end. I understand the game against Missouri is on the road. I understand this Missouri team is more talented than any Calipari has faced. I also understand the following facts:
- They are 4-5 in the SEC. They lost to Illinois, the worst team in the Big 10. And they lost to the same West Virginia team we just beat.
- They’re not hot. They’ve lost 3 out of their last 4 SEC games, all by double digits.
- No more issues with rebounding from the excitement of the WVU win.
- Jared Vanderbilt has been in the regular rotation for 5 games. He’s in game shape now.
- Youth is no longer an excuse. These guys now have 22 games under their belts. They’ve all played significant minutes. They’ve played in tight games both at home and on the road. These freshman have more minutes than almost any freshmen in the country. Inexperience is not an excuse anymore.
If this team seriously has aspirations to make a Final Four and win an SEC crown, beating a 4-5 SEC team is a requirement, no matter what. This team has the bench to combat any foul trouble. This team does not have an obvious hole that can be used as an excuse anymore.
I’m not sure how tomorrow is going to end up. The Cats could absolutely lose. But my argument is they shouldn’t. If they do though, the time for excuses is over. It’s go time this season. For me, it starts tomorrow because that is the type of game that champion contenders win.