Upsets Were On Tap Last Night
As teams prepare for the upcoming tournaments, coaches are wary of letdowns and performances that don’t measure up to expectations. With that in mind, the following three coaches can’t be too happy with the way their teams performed last night:
All three coaches watched as their teams failed to live up to their expectations, especially Kentucky and Kansas. The Jayhawks got beaten pretty handily by Texas Tech, a team that had lost 10 out of 11 games before blitzing Kansas by 19. In the grand scheme of things, this loss probably doesn’t mean a great deal, although, Coach Self was understandably troubled by his team’s performance.
“It’s what I told our guys in the locker room. I said, ‘Congratulations, we won the league and got beat by 19,’” Self added.
“It’s pretty remarkable a team could perform as poorly as we did tonight and was able to be 13-2 and clinch a tie and can win it outright on Saturday.”
Because of the next upset (Missouri over Oklahoma), Kansas is guaranteed at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title. While Self’s position is understandable — a loss like this is indeed troubling — a nice run in the Big 12 tournament will, in all likelihood, silence the remaining murmurs from last night’s loss. And Kansas is quite capable of making it to the Big 12 championship game.
As for the Mizzou game, was it really, truly an upset? A top 25 team beating a higher-ranked team? Furthermore, it was a home game for the Tigers and Mike Anderson’s team has protected their home court perfectly this season, going undefeated in the confines of Columbia. Nevertheless, when you get Blake Griffin and his fifth-ranked Sooners in your gym, winning is a significant accomplishment, and the Tigers got the best of the Sooners the way they normally do: with substantial ball pressure.
Oklahoma, for all their talent, struggled with Missouri’s pressure as weaknesses in the ball-handling department were exposed, making Missouri’s task of disrupting OU’s attack that much easier. Oklahoma got their usual greatness from Blake Griffin (16 and 21), but turnovers are what killed them (21).
Griffin himself had six.
Nevertheless, I’m hesitant to call this an upset. Mizzou is a good-to-great team and they are undefeated in Columbia. When a 12th-ranked team beats the 5th-ranked team at home, the upset value goes out the window some. At least for me it does.
The next upset was a little more troubling from a personal sense, but that’s what happens when the team you root for gets embarrassed by a team that, before last night, had won TWO games in their last TWENTY — or, as I like to call it, Kentucky getting their faces kicked in by a terrible Georgia team. And that’s no knock to the Bulldogs. Georgia, as a team, is 12-18 and 3-12 in the SEC. They are a bad team, no question. And that’s what makes Kentucky loss, on a night they absolutely had to win, all the more troubling and puzzling.
Keep in mind, the last time Kentucky played Georgia on January 18, they won by 23 points, holding the Bulldogs to 45 points total. Last night, Georgia scored 90 points. To say Billy Gillispie’s team didn’t play defense is akin to me saying the sky is blue and grass is green.
You don’t say?
The questions are, what now? Is Gillispie on the hot seat after watching his team lose their sixth game in Rupp Arena this season? How low has Kentucky fallen? Do they deserve a post season of any kind (not just the Big Dance)? After watching last night’s complete and utter disaster, I’m thinking a resounding “no” needs to be heard.
Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson apparently feels the same way:
Brett Dawson wrote on his blog last night that Patrick Patterson said NO to the NIT. If the Cats don’t make the tournament, he wants nothing to do with the NIT.
Can you blame him? Patterson didn’t come to UK to play in also-ran tournaments. If Gillispie isn’t careful, last night’s disgusting mess might be the last time Patterson plays in Rupp Arena as a college student — and if that happens, all I can say is, what a way for such a great player to go out. He deserved more from his teammates and his coach.