[Moderated by Matt Jones]
As I sat down to write a post about the South Carolina game (who am I kidding I’m always sitting down) and what is ahead for Kentucky basketball through the rest of the SEC slate, it was difficult to concentrate. Why you ask? Because of signing day. Football signing day. I am too jazzed to talk about Kentucky basketball because I’m distracted by football glee. This is a bizarre day for the Bluegrass, and although it’s been repeated all over the site it can’t be said enough–Stoops is doing something special.
We don’t have norovirus. We have football fever.
Tuesday night in Rupp Arena, we were all laughing at Michael Carrera and his “Daisy Dukes/short shorts” as seen below. Otherwise it was difficult to get the crowd’s attention, as Coach Frank Martin put it, “I can tell you, I never thought I’d see the day where the opposing team put the crowd to sleep. We did a heck of a job with putting everyone to sleep in there. It is what it is.”
- Rolling them up like Soffe shorts is so last season.
The only time Rupp Arena seemed truly intent on what was happening was at halftime when the National Signing Day video was shown on the big screen. All movement stopped and all eyes were on the screen. It is still difficult to believe that football is garnering more attention than basketball in February.
This is twofold. Clearly, Kentucky fans are excited for the future of the football program. We are (likely) renovating Nutter Fieldhouse and Commonwealth Stadium, we have a new coach and coordinators who are proven on both defense and offense, and are raking in the highest ranked recruiting class ever.
On the other hand, I have a bit of a lecture for we in Big Blue Nation. I am guilty of this as well, but coming off of a national championship I believe we are a bit hungover. Not like that Tuesday in class after the game, no, we are struggling to appreciate this current crop of Cats and the present season. It’s difficult to top the incredible season we had last year and to maintain excitement while sledging SEC play. While this team has been frustrating, let’s not forget that we are only 2nd in the SEC and (for now) appear on our way to the NCAA Tournament. Where anything is possible. Kevin Garnett would agree with me.
Looking at our remaining schedule, there are certainly challenges– of course Florida twice, at Arkansas (after their game against Florida they must be considered a threat), and against Missouri on College Gameday. But clearly any game, including those at home, is not gimme for these Cats.
It’s absolutely warranted for fans to be elated with the direction of Kentucky football, but let’s not get too ahead of ourself and forget what our basketball team has overcome so far this year and the positive direction in which we are headed:
- You have to start with Nerlens! Noel has become the most feared defender in college basketball and, according to many scouts, the unequivocal choice for the number 1 pick in the draft.
Some veteran NBA scouts discussed Nerlens with SNY.tv:
Nerlens has been separating himself from the pack. He has taken his shot-blocking to another level. He’s the best interior defender in the game.
Noel [is] No. 1. He is getting better each week offensively and we already know he dominates the game at the defensive end.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 6, 2013
- BBN respectfully disagrees LeBron.
Some other positives moving forward for Kentucky basketball:
- The maturity and smooth/confident shot of Uncle Julius.
- The aggression of Kyle Wiltjer and his effort to improve his defense and versatility.
- Ryan Harrow and Willie Cauley-Stein overcoming illness and injury.
- Winning our first overtime game on the road.
- Beginning to bury teams we should bury.
Although we all yell at our TV everytime Archie Goodwin attempts an ill-advised drive to the basket (STOP IT) and feel like Alex Poythress could and should be dunking on someone everytime he touches the ball, there’s still a lot of basketball to be played.
Kentucky fans are very forward minded, we are already talking about the spring football game and clearly enjoy basketball and football recruiting news more than your average fanbase. After we got #8, Cats faithful were already talking about when #9 and #10 would come.
But let’s enjoy this basketball team and each individual player that suits up. Remember, they won’t be around for long.
So give all of Cal’s current Cats a virtual hug.
Or you can run on the court and give them a head pat like this Barcelona fan did to Lionel Messi. Whichever. But remember to wash up like Messi did. Wouldn’t want to catch anything.
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