It’s been that kind of year. You know what kind of year I’m talking about; a year in which remote control throwing and cursing at the TV happened more often that one would like to admit. It’s been the kind of year where showing up to work is that much harder because your co-workers are ready to meet you at the water cooler in order to discuss the latest loss. It’s been the kind of year that you just skip over the sports section of the news paper or maybe ignore your favorite fan website.
As frustrating as it’s been, at least these negatives have been fairly consistent, unlike the Kentucky Wildcats.
Last week I wrote a post that stated that Kentucky needed to avoid another hangover game after the big win over Missouri. But, just like they have done all season, the Wildcats slipped up after a big victory. We’ve seen it happen time and time again and I don’t expect anything to change so late in the season. As of now, this team has an identity of being consistently inconsistent.
After every win, someone uses the phrase “They’ve turned the corner”, only to be disappointed a few games later. And this inconsistency in play, intensity and performance will ultimately doom this team.
Even if these Wildcats get into the tournament, which is seriously in doubt at the moment, these young Wildcats don’t exactly give us much to hope for as far as tournament victories are concerned.
There isn’t one player to blame in this inconsistency. Alex Poythress, Ryan Harrow, Archie Goodwin and Kyle Wiltjer have all been major culprits of the no-show syndrome multiple times this season. Their inconsistency constantly clashed with the consistency of Nerlens Noel, Willie Cauley-Stein and Julius Mays.
When Noel went down, WCS stepped up big time and filled the void in the middle. Nobody can say that he did not perform his job. Julius Mays, while he struggled a bit against Arkansas, provided the rock steady play and leadership. And Nerlens was the heart and soul of the team until his season was cut short.
But the other guys didn’t bring it every single night. Sure, they put together a few nice games in a row, but they were unable to continue with their positive play.
I’m not blaming these guys for anything. I’m one of the last people in the world that would dog the Kentucky Wildcats, but I’m just pointing out the obvious facts. Guys like Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Brandon Knight and John Wall dazzled us with their talent, but it was their will to win and their hatred of losing that took the Wildcats deep into the tournament these last three years. Even when the chips were down, we all had the confidence that one of these guys would pull out the victory. John Wall and Brandon Knight hit some game winning shots in their time, while Davis and MKG out worked the opposing team. This year’s Wildcats do not have that type of player.
As this season feels like it’s coming to an early end, let’s try not to sink into too much of a depression. I hate to use the past and the future as crutches, but let’s face it, we are still less than a year removed from a national title and next year is going to be amazing; and let’s not forget this team. The season isn’t over.
There are two more regular season games and a conference tournament; there are still a few chances to claim that this team turned the corner. Hopefully this time around they can live up to the statement. But the trend isn’t where we want it to be. Even if the Wildcats pull a off a few wins, we can figure out what will happen soon after the victories.