BY TINA COX
Old Man Winter has arrived in Kentucky. The winter coats are now hanging next to the door. My favorite UK mittens are now a staple in my purse. My favorite blanket is wrapped around me and the Beagle Boys are at my feet.
The trip to the Bahamas four months ago is a distant memory. In fact, I wonder if it ever really happened when I watch the CATS. This could not be the same team that played four games at the Atlantis. This could not be the same team the nation watched in awe.
It was not only the BBN that had expectations from this team after the Bahamas trip. Sports writers and fans nationwide thought this team could be special. Some even gave comparisons to the 2015 team. The koolaid was served and it seemed everyone drank a glass.
Then Duke happened. It is worth remembering that nationally Kentucky was picked to win the opener at Bankers Life in Indianapolis. Vegas even had Kentucky a one point favorite at one point before tipoff. No-one, I repeat no-one had Kentucky getting a can of whoop butt thrown at them in the first five minutes. That is how long it took to realize Kentucky was out of their league in the game.
Where is the “shooter” Tyler Hero? Remember in the Bahamas when he literally shot the lights out? The Rex Chapman comparisons started and Herro joined the hype by donning a #3 jersey at Big Blue Madness. His shots aren’t falling and his defense has not developed. He has turned into a liability at times.
Nick Richards was a beast in the Bahamas. Since the beginning of the season Richards has had one good game. He has become the Richards of last year, blaming everyone but himself. The lowering of the head and hands up in the air are not signs of maturation.
PJ Washington was on a mission in the Bahamas. Looking in PJ’s eyes during media interviews in the Bahamas he was focused. He was willing to lead this team and set and example for the younger players on the meaning of playing a full forty. Fast forward to today…PJ plays Houdini and this team cannot achieve their goals with him disappearing during games.
The competition was not great in the Bahamas. That is why the team looked so good. Realistically the teams we have played (since Duke) have not been good. Seton Hall is not good but yet we haven’t showed any of the fierceness, focus or teamwork that we saw in August.
The good news is that the season is young. Calipari will work his magic like he always does. Don’t cancel your room reservations for March. After all, what is life without a few bumps along the way.
If someone offers you some Kentucky Kool-Aid in February go on take a drink. It is 5 o’clock somewhere.
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