Friday, November 9, 2007

This post is about as much fun as crawling naked over broken glass

Well, I've been out for a few days on a project, and therefore, I have not blogged. I work, therefore I don't blog ... ?

Before I go all Decartesque on a bunch of people wanting to read about sports stuff, I think I'll stop right there.

Of course, the big news of this week was the beat-down Gardner-Webb laid on my Kentucky Wildcats. Now, when I started this blog, I promised it wouldn't be UK-centric, and I think I have lived up to that standard reasonably well. But this is big news, and believe me, I don't enjoy blogging about a mid-major with an enrollment of maybe 5000 students driving their rag-tag bus 6 hours northwest to Rupp Arena, and stomping the snot out of one of the most storied basketball programs in history. Every word I type here feels like I am punching the keyboard with severe arthritis in my fingers. It hurts that much.

I cannot tell you how ... chagrined I was watching this game. It told a story of a coach so committed to his system, he wasn't willing to change it when faced with the ultimate counter and absolute disaster. The Princeton (or Pete Caril) offense is what Gardner-Webb used to embarrass Kentucky. Any coach (or competent observer) will tell you that a pressure man-to-man defense is the single most vulnerable defense to the Caril offense. The most basic (but probably most important) reason is, offensive players know where they are going, and defenders don't. Gillispie was unwilling to change the defense, and G-W continued to be successful against the Cats.

Midway through the second half, when the game was really in jeopardy, Gillispie finally went to a conventional man-to-man, instructing the team to stay in between the man they were guarding and the basket. Kentucky went on a run, but by that point, G-W believed they could win the game, and began making big shots. A fatigued Wildcat team began missing assignments and the rest, as they say, is history.

For my part, I am as unhappy as you would expect facing a constant drumbeat of schadenfreude from teams that Kentucky has defeated year in and year out, or just general UK haters, of which there are many. Maybe not as many as Duke, but more than enough to make for a long, tiresome week of snarky comments and insults. Frankly, I don't have anything too negative to say about that -- we made our bed, and now we have to sleep in it, even if it is full of fleas.

So, let's see what the non-Kentucky SEC blogs are saying about this affair:

Charles Rich, writing for Fanhouse, thinks that Gillispie has a lot of work to do:

The Runnin' Bulldogs led the entire game. They outshot, outrebounded and outplayed the Wildcats. Gillispie's disapproval of the team's defensive effort in the exhibitions and first game appears quite warranted. Gardner-Webb was able to run backdoor cuts almost at will for easy layups and higher percentage shots. This was not a case of a team that got incredibly hot from behind the 3-point line. Gardner-Webb shot over 56% on 2-point shots.
What can I say? The guy is right, right, right and, oh yeah, right.

Eight in the Box (not exactly a basketball kind of blog) wonders, "Who is Gardner-Webb?" Heh. I wish I knew. What I do know is that they can play a little ball over there.

SEC Hoops is like me ... What the ...?:
Are you kidding me?!? In what was college basketball’s biggest upset in some time, Gardner-Webb absolutely dominated #15 Kentucky on their own floor tonight with a 84-68 win. Kentucky allowed GW to shoot 53.1% from the floor while managing only a 35.5% effort of their own, and was outrebounded 36-28. GW jumped out to a 14-0 lead early, and never trailed.
Yeah, no shit, Sherlock. But he clearly didn't see the game. Ramel Bradley impressed nobody. He didn't get credit for half the turnovers he actually made. Must be some kind of New York City bias in the official scoring.

The Hog Blogger has an interesting take:
Perhaps this is karma for essentially costing Stan Heath his job? It’s possible.
Eh? Oh, I get it -- Gillispie turned down Arkansas, and ... Ok, whatever. Maybe he's right. God knows, I am searching here.

Then, I have to put up with this crap from Orange and Blue Hue:
Ummmm . . . mandate may be a stong term . . . how about rephrasing this as ” . . . was hired as the 21st coach in Kentucky History with an optimistic request to restore basketball’s winningest program to previous heights.” instead??? While the football program is ascending to heights heretofore unseen in the school’s history, the basketball programs precipitous descent doesn’t look quite complete. Apparently the empty seats in Rupp arena were not just due to student apathy but perhaps instead of the foresight of fans not yet blinded by years of delusion. They just wanted to spare themselves the sight of such embarrassment and hoping to return later in the season when the team starts playing better.
Oh, kiss my entire ass, Keltic Gator. Just keep in mind, when we whack your butts twice this year, you are going to hear "Can't even beat a team that Gardner-Webb defeated." Karma, KG ... karma.

That's enough. I really don't want to read anymore. Yeah, I am embarrassed, just like the rest of the Big Blue Nation, and I'll have to put up with crap on this one for two more weeks at least.

Nobody ever said being a fan was always fun ...


thb said...

Just for the record, Gillispie reportedly told Frank Broyles through a third party that he would come to Arkansas in early March, and supposedly again after the SEC Tournament.

Then, because he's a moron, he believed him, fired Heath with the assumption we were getting Gillispie, and we subsequently ended up with our seventh choice.

So, basically, if Gillispie says, "No, I'll probably go to Kentucky," Heath keeps his job.

Funny how things work out for the best sometimes, though.

Ryan Ferguson said...

Huh! I didn't know BestofSEC was run by a Kentucky fan.

Hey, I felt your pain in that loss. Florida probably has some ugly ones coming too. But it's hard to imagine even our young scrubs could lose like that.

Really mystifying.

BestofSEC said...

THB: True. I think you guys got a damn fine coach. Of course, I don't think you should take mine as a totally unbiased opinion. :-)

Ryan: Should've read the "about me" box. :-)

Seriously, sometimes things happen that just can't be explained. Perhaps God owed G-W (or maybe us!) one.

Well, I can only take solace in the fact that Ohio State and Michigan State lost to even worse teams. At least G-W is division I. I suppose this just goes to show that young teams can lose to anybody.

Kurt said...

It was only a recap, not meant to have too much commentary. Sorry you didn't approve.

BestofSEC said...

Kurt: Unfortunately, I am not completely sure what you are responding to.

Kurt said...

Ahh. I am the writer of SEC Hoops: The Good. The Bad. The Dirty.

Thankyou for your continued links, although some of them aren't quite as positive as I'd like. Ha.

BestofSEC said...


Ahh, I got ya.

It wasn't disapproval I was registering, but disgust, and not with you. The only thing that I really disagreed with was your comment about Bradley having a good game with 24 points.

He scored a lot of points, but that isn't his job. He is supposed to be the lead guard, and get other people the ball. He should never have that many points, and the fact he got them all from the line is no excuse -- he kept putting up shot after shot.

I didn't mean to be hard on you. You and I are kind of similar in the fact that we both look at the overall SEC, but I know at least in my case, I have a home team also, which happens to be UK. I suspect you do, as well.

It's hard to be as tuned in to a particular team as their home fans are, and I didn't mean to disrespect your observation, and I shouldn't have been so blunt.

What gets me is that way to many of our own fans would make that same type of observation, and that galls me. Bradley and Crawford must stop showboating and play ball correctly. Otherwise, we'll be wondering how we got to the NIT this year.