The sky could be falling

It's a good thing Billy Gillispie is not a "sky is falling" kind of guy because a lot of the Big Blue faithful are that way.

It's a good thing Billy Gillispie is not a "sky is falling" kind of guy because a lot of the Big Blue faithful are that way.

Of course, it's hard to fault those questioning what it is going on with the Wildcats during this three-game Southeastern Conference losing streak. It's easy to question everything from Gillispie's coaching to the players' effort to the overall talent on this team.

There is something wrong with this team. Nobody will say it, but players are confused and seemed disinterested in what Gillispie had to say at times during Tuesday's loss to Mississippi State. Players' parents are also wondering what is going on and why things have fallen apart in the last two weeks. They are as confused by some things the coach is doing as other fans -- and maybe even the players -- are.

However, the players are not without blame because the effort level clearly has dropped. "We really did look a little lackadaisical out there," Perry Stevenson said after Tuesday's win. "Don't ask me why. I wish I knew. When a team hits shots, it just hurts."

Hurts, yes. But should it make a team quit playing as hard?

"Being down 8-0 at the start didn't help. I think this team really does need a good start to play well. That makes things easier for us and we do better then that if we get behind," Stevenson said.

But once Kentucky did get behind, little changed except for one brief flurry in the second half that State quickly countered.

"I think we surprised Kentucky with our defense inside on Patterson," State's Jarvis Varnado said. "They never really did anything to adjust to that or anything special to try and get (Jodie) Meeks open."

Kentucky also never really did anything to stop State's 3-point shooting -- and that can be pinned on Gillispie. If a team can't guard one way, it needs to adjust -- and UK didn't. "I think we played hard, but not very smart," Gillispie said.

Maybe, but did he coach smart himself? Many think no, especially when he said UK's previous wins over Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee were more to do with those teams not shooting well than anything else. What about defense and not letting Ole Miss, South Carolina and Mississippi State spread the floor and consistently get open for shots?

"When teams spread the floor out like that it does not look like we have the same intensity," Gillispie said. "That's when you better play with the same or better intensity."

Whose fault is that when it doesn't happen? Players or coaches? My guess is both.

Then there is the tentative way the Cats are playing on offense. Players have either lost confidence or are afraid to shoot. At least one player's parent thinks it is afraid. At least one SEC assistant coach has told me he thinks the Cats are poor shooters with no confidence -- a fatal combination.

Is the season lost? No, not yet. But it will be if UK doesn't beat Florida Tuesday.


AllWildcats Top Stories