The phrase “teaching moments” is, arguably, the most annoying phrase in sports and typically signals an impending loss in a game. Unfortunately, the Wildcats have had several “teaching moments” this young season already. The problem is that they don’t appear to be learning anything from them.
I don’t know if they think playing a “complete game” means correcting problems that surfaced in the prior game, or if they think they’ll learn from those “teaching moments” just by playing the next game, but neither of those is true. Listen, for a 10-5 (1-1) team to lose at home isn’t the worst thing ever, but when you let a guy drop 40 on you…it’s embarrassing. And though every BBN psychologist/coach has an opinion as to what is wrong with our team, lack of confidence is never among them…never. What could be an issue, though, is a lack of pride as a team. None of them seem to EVER be embarrassed. During Calipari’s postgame presser, he talked about his team not having a “will to win” and Poythress yelling more during the game, not because he hopes it’ll scare the hell out of the other team but because it indicates he, and the others actually care about the game. They have a strong desire to win. They have some pride in what they are doing. This team doesn’t have that yet but I’m sure if Calipari could get some at the store, he’d spoon-feed it to them every meal. What, perhaps, is the most disappointing about the outcome of the game was how they finished. At one point, A&M scored 10 straight, and we gave up. We didn’t tighten up our D and played recklessly on offense. Dumpster fire from that point on.
And look, Elston Turner dropped 40..40 on these guys!!!! He was 13-19 against some very tough man-to-man D and made some ridiculous shots under pressure, but no one person is supposed to beat a team. Though he didn’t single-handedly outscore the Cats, he influenced what we did on D to the point that he may as well have. And for everyone comparing Turner’s numbers to Devan Downey’s from South Carolina years ago…just stop. Downey shot every trip down the floor and needed almost as many shots to score the points as he actually scored. Turner’s game was unselfish and he was on fire.
I don’t know at what point we will stop being the puppet and take our place as the puppeteer, but this was a game we should NOT have lost, especially at Rupp. We can’t afford these losses but if we are consistently as inconsistent and unpredictable as we have been this entire season, then you can expect at least two more losses. I, like the rest of the BBN and UK coaching staff, am beyond frustrated with the “one step forward, two steps back” this team deals with on a game-by-game basis.