By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer
Have you ever been cleaning out your unwanted clothes and while looking through the pockets of your old pants you find something valuable – like maybe a 20 dollar bill.
That’s kind of how it feels right now with this current UK Men’s Basketball Team. Any type of achievement in the NCAA tournament will be like that twenty dollar bill – unexpected but greatly appreciated.
This UK basketball season has been such a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. From the up of beating their bitter rival Louisville by 29 points to the down of losing to Florida in Rupp Arena back to the up of beating No. 7 West Virginia in Morgantown after overcoming a 17 point deficit in the second half to the ultimate down of losing four games in a row for the first time ever in the Calipari era. What a ride it has been.
With fans wringing their hands – me included – and media types writing them off as one of the worst defensive teams in the country – me included – the players and coaching staff were able to stick with the process and stay the course. Now with a No. 5 seed in the South Region firmly in hand it’s time to sit back and enjoy the rest of the ride. It may end on Thursday night against Davidson with one of those all-to-frequent 5 seed/12 seed upsets.
Or Thursday night may be a continuation of what we saw in St. Louis. A juggernaut of a team rolling over opponents on their way to the SEC Tournament title.
The basketball media machine is already cranking up with stories about placing UK on the “watch list” for a potential upset versus Davidson College – the Atlantic 10 Tournament winner that upset a very good Rhode Island team to get into the tournament. Even with all the hype about the dreaded 5/12 game, the mentions of UK’s inability to beat the Vegas point spread in NCAA Tournament games as the favorite to the ability of Davidson College players to knock down three pointers at an amazing rate – they shoot 27 per game and make 11 – it’s still that time of year when unexpected things happen. UK teams catch fire and go on long winning streaks. Players step up and make big plays in big games.
Through it all go ahead and enjoy the ride – for these players it may be a once in a lifetime experience. And for the fans it may be the last time we see some of them in a Kentucky uniform.
And like that 20 dollar bill. Each additional win will be unexpected and greatly appreciated.