I’m spoiled. I’ll go ahead and put that out there. Coach Calipari has 100% spoiled myself and most of the Big Blue Nation. When he took the head coach position at Kentucky, he put the pedal to the floor and ripped off the rear view mirror. From top 5 recruiting classes every year, to 4 of 7 final fours, to #1 draft picks, to 38-1, to a coveted title in 2012, the Kentucky fan base has just been plain old spoiled. Any other team would be more than pleased with a 20-5 record at this point in the season. But the Big Blue Nation is getting a little testy.
We started off the season with a win over a Michigan State team that has underachieved this year. At the time, we thought it was big deal. Now, not so much. We did get a win over a very good North Carolina team, but, it took a 47-point night from Malik Monk to get it done. We lost to UCLA at home which hurt but was a top 10 matchup.
Our biggest rival Louisville downed us at their place but was a top 10 matchup. Then the wheels fell off. We went down to Knoxville and lost to a Tennessee team who is generally terrible, but has put up some respectable numbers against some good teams. They almost got North Carolina in Chapel Hill. But we let them get us in Knoxville. Next game was Kansas at home, and we lost that one too. Two losses in a row had some UK fans googling the nearest bridge.
Kentucky was able to right the ship with a win over Georgia at home, although it was a very dull and unimpressive 9 point home win against a not so good Bulldog squad. But remember when those wheels fell off before? Yeah, it happened again. We went down to Gainesville and let the Gators just walk all over us. A loss to Florida wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that the Wildcats lost by 22 points. Twenty. Two.
At that point, there were drunk fans calling into radio shows wanting Cal fired, wanting walk-ons to start the next game, wondering how our recruiting class was looking for next year, even asking when football starts (!). I wish I was making that up.
For any fan base to absolutely lose their minds over 5 losses in a season is just ridiculous. For Kentucky to do so really embarrasses me. Do we have a right to be upset? I’d say yes. We’ve lost to a couple of teams we’re better than and should have performed better. The beginning of the season again spoiled us because we were scoring over 100 points and winning games by 30+ points. Our team seems to have lost some of the fire they had earlier. So, being upset is okay.
But to write this team off, call for the heads of our coaching staff, and to hate on our players after less-than-stellar games is so wrong and uncalled for. The Big Blue Nation is going to put themselves into cardiac arrest and we’re not even into the NCAA tournament yet. If 2014 taught us anything, it’s that things can turn around even when you think there’s no hope. That team underachieved and earned themselves an 8th seed in the tournament. But where did that team end up? Getting to the championship game and losing to a Kemba Walker led UCONN team. They hit rock bottom and we all know where you go from there.
If I could say one thing to the Big Blue Nation as a whole, it would be the same motto we’ve had for years: Trust in Cal. He’s taken us to heights we hadn’t seen in a long time. And, yes we had that one bad year. 2013 happened. But it’s only happened once, and I don’t see it happening again.
Take a breath. Step back. Take a shot of Maker’s. Do whatever you need to do to calm down, and let Cal work his magic.
He’s already gotten us playing the defense we’re accustomed to. We’re on the upswing. Just sit back and enjoy it. These Cal days aren’t always going to be here. Embrace it while it’s here.
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