Kentucky coach Tubby Smith has a wonderful record, doesn't break NCAA rules and is genuinely a nice person. However, he has to take the major responsibility for what has gone wrong this season.
Forget blaming the assistant coaches for everything from Kentucky's talent to offensive shortcomings. The blame, or credit, goes to Smith. In big-time basketball, the head coach closes the deal in recruiting. In big-time basketball, the head coach decides what offense he wants his team to use. If Smith wants a faster pace or more screens, he's calling the shots. If he wants better players, he has to convince them to sign with Kentucky.
But what puzzles me the most this season is Kentucky's apparent lack of motivation. Smith's players just are not playing with the same passion and energy they usually do.
In fact, midway of the season, the UK basketball team has underachieved far more than last season's football team. And if UK fans thought football coach Rich Brooks sometimes had trouble motivating the team, then what should one think after the way UK has played in five (Indiana, Iona, Ohio, Central Florida and Kansas) of its last six games.
The football team was decimated by injuries and was still battling the lingering impact of NCAA probation. The basketball team has been hurt by Kelenna Azubuike's early departure, Randolph Morris' ineligibility and, maybe, Joe Crawford's injury. But isn't the basketball program at Kentucky supposed to be able to withstand problems like that? Isn't that the difference in football and basketball at UK?
Sure, the basketball team does still have a winning record. But in games against what I consider six big-time opponents, UK is 2-4. At Kentucky, that should not be acceptable.
So while it's easy to blame UK's woes on specific players, there's plenty of blame to go around this season for the team's lack of talent and effort.
Win or lose, Coach is ultimately responsible
AllWildcats Top Stories
GAMEDAY: KENTUCKY vs. MISSISSIPPI STATEEverything you need to know about Kentucky's matchup with Mississippi State on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. It's a huge game for the Wildcats, who seek to move to 4-3 on the…
AllWildcatsYesterday at 11:20 PM
Five Takeaways from UK's Blue-White GameThe Blue squad rolled to a 110-94 win over the White squad on Friday night in Kentucky's annual intrasquad scrimmage. In this All Wildcats feature, we offer five takeaways from the…
AllWildcatsYesterday at 7:54 PM
Calipari on Kentucky's Blue-White GameKentucky coach John Calipari addressed the media after the Wildcats' annual Blue-White Game on Friday night at Rupp Arena.
AllWildcatsYesterday at 6:55 PM
UK's Adebayo Named To Abdul-Jabbar Watch ListA third member of Kentucky's elite basketball signing class has been placed on a preseason award watch list.
AllWildcatsYesterday at 1:44 PM