Spending a week in Las Vegas with sports editors from across the country made one thing clearer than ever to me. The national perspective of Tubby Smith is far different than the perspective of many Kentucky basketball fans.
Whenever our discussions turned to college basketball, those who knew I was from Kentucky always asked me how the Wildcats would be next season. My answer, which has not changed since the season ended, was that I didn't know but another season with 10 or more losses seemed likely given the returning talent and the struggles the team had last year.
Always the next question would be about how fans are reacting to Kentucky not winning the national championship in recent years. When I told the sports editors, including many from the nation's largest papers, that some fans were so upset that they wanted Smith gone, I wish you could have seen the reaction.
"You have got to be kidding. He's one of the best coaches in the nation."
That was a typical response minus some colorful language that many sports editors used. They were truly shocked to learn that Kentucky fans were that upset with Smith.
So that makes me want to ponder this point: Are the national sports editors that naive and out of touch with the college basketball landscape or are Kentucky fans just too hard to please? The more I thought about that on my plane ride back from Las Vegas, the more I realized that both sides might be right. Maybe Kentucky fans are too hard at times on Smith and expect results that are unreasonable on an annual basis. But maybe the national media also fails to realize that UK is struggling to land blue-chip recruits every year and has not been to the Final Four since 1998.
However, right or wrong, Kentucky fans are not going to be happy with another season of 10 or more losses. Surely Smith has to understand that even if the nation's sports editors don't.
Another perspective on Smith
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