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Straightening My Tiara: Cats Thump The Volunteers

De'Aaron Fox Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

I’ve never minded living the life of the rebel; liking things others do not, and moreover, being vocal about it. Hello? I’m a (sometimes) Kentucky sports blogger living in the heart of East Tennessee. So, of course, I wouldn’t have been anywhere else than Rupp Arena on Valentines Day.

First of all, can I just say how freaking gratifying it was to whip Tennessee so bad?! I try to be gracious in defeat.. and losing sucks so bad. So, when they beat us a few weeks ago at Thompson-Boling, it hurt so bad to swallow my pride and tell my neighbors, “Yeah… uh huh. It sure was a heck of a game. Yep. Y’all did good. Ha, Ha. Yeah, you got us alright…” Oh. My. Gawd. I thought it was never going to end. I seriously needed our boys in blue to give those Volunteers a good curb stomping so I could straighten my tiara smile and wave at my neighbors again. For the record, none of my neighbors watched this game more than just a few minutes. Tennessee “basketball fans” are only basketball fans when they have more points on the scoreboard on the other team… and the other team is in the SEC… or a rival. That’s it. Other than that, its football season or bust… and it better “feel like ’98”. *insert eye-roll*

On to other contentious and rebellious topics: I ran a poll on the @CameronRadio Twitter account during the game and asked, based on play alone, if everyone thought that Fox should keep the man bun or go back to his signature crazy twists. 55% of the voters said he should go back to his original “do” which means that more than half of the Twitter voters have lost their ever-loving minds (with all due respect and bless your hearts). Here is your De’Aaron Fox stats for the night: 13 points, 6 assists, and zero turnovers in 32 minutes of court action.

You can hate on the man bun all you want to but I dig it!

I also dig the fact that this is probably this first time we’ve seen a totally, 100% healthy De’Aaron Fox in forever. He had the ankle thing, then the sickness thing, but Tuesday night, he looked like he was back to himself. He was a step quicker than the other guy, wreaking havoc on defenses, and creating offense which led to the beautiful ball movement that had the #BBN drooling all Valentine’s evening long.

Was it 100% health -or- a man bun that had Fox playing like a Top 5 NBA Draft pick? You choose. But I’ll say this in my most rebellious tone possible- If you have a problem with a kid’s hairstyle choice, I hope you get an insatiable pinky twitch. Find more profitable things to opine on, okay? Thanks.

On a less controversial topic, anyone in America who isn’t a troll has gotta admit that there isn’t a single, solitary team in the country who would want to go up against the team Tennessee saw on Tuesday night; not the Dukies, not the Tarheels, not Nova, not Kansas, not anyone. When Derek’s hands are nearly melting off because they are unsure if they themselves can withstand that much fire and Malik is hitting 3’s, too… oh, and Dom, too? When Fox is 100% and Bam and Monk are combining for (count ’em) twenty boards?  Forget it. There are too many weapons.

News Flash: We had 18 fast-break points and didn’t allow them to have a single solitary one. Nope. Not one!

I reiterate, too many weapons.

If you’ve listened to me any at all in the last few weeks on the Big Blue Views podcast, you’ve most likely heard me be a little down and drab about the team. I’m not backpedaling, although, like every good woman, I reserve the right to change my mind.

I have beheld a beautiful basketball team in two months: December and February. I need to see them in March and April. Three weeks ago I wasn’t sure I even could, much less would. Now I am optimistic that I can. Their youth makes me nervous. They are susceptible to reverting and now is definitely not the time to go backward. March is too close. Derek and Dominique were both made available to the media after the game and I asked them both about being in the homestretch of the season- and they both made mention of pressing forward and not reverting back into old habits. That’s crucial for a young team off coming off a big win and diving into the homestretch of the season.

If these young Cats can hold it together while this thing picks up momentum, March and April could end up being so much freaking fun for the Big Blue Nation.

The win over Tennessee was literally just what the doctor ordered, not just for the BBN, but for the team as a whole. We all were getting some optimism back after the win at Alabama, but we were needing a “statement” game; a “We’re Back” game; a “Don’t you ever forget about Kentucky” kind of game. Kentucky Basketball was beginning to feel a smidgen mediocre and, doggone it, we needed our mojo back.

The sweet revenge win over Tennessee was it.. and there’s absolutely nothing better than getting your mojo at the expense of the Volunteers. *insert maniacal laugh*

Go Cats!

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