For the first time while coaching the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team, head coach John Calipari is faced with dilemma. One, Cal will have to solve quickly as his Wildcats are 14-6 and unsure if they’ll play in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Yes, UK picked up a big win against Ole Miss Thursday night, but the 2012-2013 UK team is taking a path down memory lane.
Do you recall the 2001-2002 Kentucky team that dubbed the nickname, Team Turmoil? Those Wildcats finished with a 22-10 record, lost to Maryland in the Sweet 16 after starting the season in the top five.
The 2012-2013 team deserves to be called Team Turmoil II.
This team doesn’t get in trouble like the 2001-2002 team did, but they play with the lack of intensity and passion just like they did. These Wildcats show no emotion, a lack of desire, and no love for the game. The players are thinking NBA a year ahead of time when they should be concerned about bringing home a victory and winning number nine.
Prior to this year, Cal didn’t have to worry about that. His first two teams advanced to the 2010 elite eight and the 2011 final four because they combined their love for basketball along with their talent. Last year, Cal coached a team that played with heart, passion, and a sense of togetherness. They didn’t care about the future, they played in the moment. That resulted in Kentucky’s first national title since 1998.
Today, Cal leads a team that plays emotionless and selfish basketball. UK plays street-ball. These players already think that they’re in the NBA. Quite frankly, these players don’t deserve to play in the NBA. Granted, every now and then, the Wildcats show flashes of greatness, butt they don’t play at a high rate every time they step on the court. People shouldn’t have to question which team is going to show up today.
Is Kentucky going to play like the squad that lost by only three points to Louisville or beat Ole Miss by double-figures? Or is UK going to play like the team that got embarrassed by Baylor by nine, Notre Dame by 14 points or Texas A&M by 12?
The Big Blue Nation asks those questions every time this year’s team steps foot on the court.
Remember, Cal was undefeated in Rupp Arena coming into this year. Two months later, an unranked Baylor and Texas A&M team can proudly claim they beat the Wildcats on their turf. Heck, Texas A&M’s Elston Turner dropped 40 points on this year’s UK team. That’s pathetic; UK left him wide-open all game long. These are alarming signs that this year’s Wildcats don’t care. Against Alabama, they blew a lead, collapsed under pressure, and lost a sixth game.
This is a what-if season for UK. There’s a ton of talent on this team, but basketball is a team sport, not an individual sport. If this team wants to win, they’ll bond, play as a team, and stop thinking about the NBA. Until UK comes together, then the losses will pile up. You might as well count both Florida and Mizzou games as losses, unless they miraculously start playing as a team.
And if they finish with ten losses, a finish worse than the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tourney, then they’re Team Turmoil II.
Or they’ll start playing consistently and win as a team, not individuals.