VAUGHT: Figuring out the Meeks-Gillispie Saga

Why would Billy Gillispie risk an injury to Jodie Meeks by putting him in a game with eight minutes to play when UK already trailed by 40 points like it did Tuesday at Vanderbilt?

If Meeks was available to play, why would Gillispie have not used him in the first half before the game turned into a total embarrassment for the Wildcats?

Those are two questions I have pondered since UK's humiliating effort — and yes, to me it was far worse than the blowout the Cats suffered at Kansas under Rick Pitino — at Vanderbilt.

While it's easy to wonder what Gillispie was doing, maybe there's a method to his coaching. Or at least I can see a scenario where they might be true.

Remember earlier in the season when Gillispie wasn't starting Joe Crawford because he didn't like Crawford's practice habits or physical toughness. Now Crawford is one of UK's toughest players both physically and mentally.

Maybe Gillispie is trying to send the same message to Meeks, who has been out with a hip flexor/groin injury. Many have speculated that Meeks had been ready to return against Alabama last week only to have him tell the coaching staff a few hours before the game that he couldn't play.

So perhaps when Meeks announced himself fit Tuesday to play after only practicing a "little bit" on Monday, Gillispie decided he was going to show Meeks that he didn't get to decide when he did or did not play. Perhaps that's why he kept him sitting in the first half even when once it looked like Meeks was ready to check in.

Besides, don't believe for a moment that it would have mattered when Meeks played. The way Vanderbilt dominated the game, nothing was going to change UK's fate.

Rather than blast Gillispie for his apparent madness, I'm going to watch what happens the next two weeks with Meeks. Maybe Meeks will have a renewed passion for playing. Maybe Gillispie will get his confidence back in Meeks. Maybe Meeks will spark another five-game win streak for the Cats.

Or maybe I'll still be scratching my head and wondering what the heck is going on with Meeks and Gillispie. Who knows?

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