This evening my youngest daughter did her best UK impression by getting busted in the mouth by something she didn’t see coming: the floor. She tripped on her blanket and blood immediately pooled in her mouth and on her paci. She got up screaming with tears streaming down her cheek and this look on her face like “what the hell just happened?!?!” She was searching for answers and comfort from her parents, which was abundantly provided, and after calming down she carried on meandering about doing what she does.
Through the first 19 games this season, our Wildcats took six blows about the head and neck area. These shots came at home, away, and on a neutral floor; by great defensive teams and offensive teams, and even some lucky teams. After every game the blood from that open wound that was their pride dripped slowly onto that beautiful Rupp Arena court, and they were left wondering, like my one and a half year old, “what the hell just happened?” The difference is that through those six horrendous games, our boys in blue had absolutely no answers. In fact, Cal didn’t have any answers either.
But for the first time this season, when the Wildcats were pummeled by a team in the second half (Ole Miss 16-0 run), they got up. Shook off the cobwebs from the ass kicking, and realized they had more than enough to take care of these bunch of overachieving Rebels. It was the turning point in a season with many “false start” turning points ie Auburn.
You see, Calipari was supposed to have this team figured out at the beginning of the season so coming in to Ole Miss at 13-6 confused the hell out of the entire Big Blue Nation but the turnaround against Ole Miss in the second half shows two things: 1.) We must trust Calipari, and 2.) We must trust these kids.
For the first time all season, this team showed the kind of heart that we expect from all UK teams. They’ve spent the better part of a season with busted faces and pitiful looks of “what the hell happened” and “what do I do now” so we KNEW that at some point they would tire of the mediocrity. They would hate the losing and griping from UK fans the world over. They would look down and see some guns on their sides and wings on their feet and realize their guns are more accurate and their feet quicker and faster than their opponents. They wouldn’t need to flee. They can stand toe to toe with any team in the country. So It took Ole Miss. A #16 ranked Ole Miss team with literally the most volatile CBB player in the country, Morgan Freeman, and the stupid “white out” to bring out the fire from our Cats. They would have no part of that charade and the irony of all that pomp is that Kentucky wasn’t favored to win the game anyway. We aren’t ranked and haven’t been in a long time. But we are the Kentucky Wildcats. We are everyone’s best shot. We are the best.
Calipari said his team would be right come February. He was right…almost. You see, it’s January 30th but all indications are the his team has figured out how to play against adversity and punch back. Do I wish they had figured this out at the beginning of the season? Yes. Do I care about that now? No.
Because the Kentucky Wildcats are BACK and taking the fight to the serfs of CBB!
Long Live the King…Blood and All