The University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball team, for the moment, is in a valley. The depression and anxiety amongst members of the Big Blue Nation is palpable. It’s evident on Twitter, Facebook, Talk Radio and even around workplace water coolers (do those still exist?): There’s a general malaise amongst Blue-clad Kentucky fans regarding the current edition of the Wildcats. After last night’s loss at Alabama and in conjunction with losses to Baylor and Texas A&M (at home) and Louisville and Notre Dame (on the road), the losses for this team continue to pile up. With those losses comes more and more criticism, both for head coach John Calipiari and the players themselves. Now, Coach Cal will be the first to explain that the bright spotlight of UK Basketball isn’t for everyone and he likes to say that when a young man comes to play at UK, “I can’t hide you.” The glare from the media and a championship crazed fan base certainly isn’t for everyone. But, have the Big Blue fans set the bar too high?
The 2011-2012 team was great. Historically great. There was a perfect mix of talent and experience and the team was ready to play from day one, with Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Darius Miller leading the way (obviously, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, and fellow NBA draftee Marquise Teague contributed). And the 2013-2014 team is shaping up to be the best recruiting class in the history of college basketball. With the Harrison twins ranked in the top 5 among most recruiting services as well as Dakari Johnson and James Young and Marcus Lee and Derek Willis. This current team has the unenviable position of being sandwiched between two potentially all time great teams. And, since the recruits began signing in the fall, much talk has been made for next year’s potential and last year’s greatness. But what about this team?