I have to admit that I was more than a bit frustrated with Kentucky’s 75-70 win on Saturday. For most of the first half, Kentucky outclassed and toyed with the Tigers, yet could not finish them off before half. And the second half was the same litany of woes that have troubled the Wildcats all season which allowed the Tigers to put a scare into UK. I can’t argue with the end result, which was a win, but 19 games into the season, I still don’t know if this UK team is a pretender or a contender. And national pundits seem mixed on UK as well. So I guess for now, there seems to be no clear-cut decision as to how good or how bad this Wildcats are. But after this week, you can say the same about several teams in college basketball.
I have to say I love the BBN as a whole but have in order to keep my blood pressure manageable, have stayed off Twitter during the games. I know that right about the time that Archie Goodwin makes his first drive to the basket that does not result in points, two or three people I follow will start the Archie bashing. Likewise when Poythress does something not All American. And on it goes. This team has the BBN in a state of confusion and even the most ardent of fans can not make it out. Four games ago, Kyle Wiltjer was being run out-of-town on the Twitter transfer wave. Now, he is Captain America, The Dark Knight, and Spiderman all rolled into one. And so it goes.
Just look what is going on in college basketball. The Louisville Cardinals, who folks like Jeff Goodman were giving the National Title to prematurely, have lost three games in a row. Two of those games were to unranked teams and the Cardinals should fall from the top spot in the poll to the #17 or #18 range in two weeks. The Minnesota Gophers, who were the darkhorse darling when they were 15-1 are now considered a bubble team after losing four in a row. Even the giant killing Butler Bulldogs stumbled this week, losing to La Salle. No one is immune to the trend of supposedly dominant teams falling prey. Seven of the AP’s Top thirteen teams lost this week, including the almighty Duke Blue Devils were blown out by Miami to the tune of 27 points and who lost two of three earlier this month.
One thing is clear. There is no dominant team and as John Calipari has said, any one of maybe thirty teams can win the title this year. If that is the case, why not throw Kentucky into that mix? Sure, the Wildcats are underperforming this year, but look at all the teams that started like gangbusters and have fallen apart. Could Kentucky reverse that trend and struggle early and finish strong? Could they be the “Benjamin Button” of college basketball this year?