Tumultuous season ends with loss at Florida

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

Losers of four in-a-row. Five of their last six. Eight of their last 11. Big Blue fans will tell you, by Kentucky's standards, those numbers are staggering.

Losers of four in-a-row.  Five of their last six.  Eight of their last 11. 

Big Blue fans will tell you, by Kentucky's standards, those numbers are staggering.

Throw in six home losses (only the second time since 1927) and one could make the case that it's been a disastrous season.

After Saturday's loss at Florida, the Wildcats finish the regular season 19-12 (8-8), their worst conference showing since the 1988-89 season, when Eddie Sutton's Cats went 8-10 in league play.  That conicided with UK's last losing season.

Some have said this two-year Billy Gillispie era is the worst since UK was saddled with probation.  For the first time in 17 years, UK is on the verge of not making the NCAA Tournament, which would end the third-longest streak in the country (Arizona 24, Kansas 19). 

By all accounts, the loss to the Gators means the Cats will have to make it to the championship game in the SEC Tournament to have a chance at making the Big Dance.  Of course, winning the conference tournament championship takes the selection committee out of the equation. 

But I agree with my media colleague, John Clay, who thinks the Cats have regressed.  Like many others, I see the same thing -- this group LOOKS like it's playing hard, but careless mistakes and poor shooting continue to plague the Cats, even more so over the last month of the season.  The Wildcats opened the year with a season-high 25 turnovers and finish the regular season with 23 against Florida.

Both were UK losses.

Addtionally, these Cats appear to play with a lack of confidence in each other and with their coach.  That's disappointing.


Next Up: NIT?

UK big man Patrick Patterson is adamant: he wants no part of the National Invitational Tournament.  But according to ESPN.com, the school already has told tournament organizers it will play in the NIT, should the Cats fail to secure an NCAA bid. 

UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart tells ESPN that he doesn't want the school perceived to be arrogant, so reluctantly, the Cats would play in the nation's oldest tournament.

Incidentally, the Cats likely would host an NIT game at Memorial Coliseum.  The Boys Sweet 16 will occupy Rupp Arena that week.  Fans have clamored for a men's basketball game at the Coliseum for years.  While they'll get their wish, I'm not sure the faithful wanted it to happen this way.

UK was set to host an NIT game last year, in Memorial Coliseum, but the Wildcats were able to get an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, despite their 18-12 record.  UK lost in the opening round to Marquette.

 Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Bryan Location: Salyersville on Mar 19, 2009 at 12:07 AM
    Fire Mitch Barnhart! He's wasted too much money on this coach deal, who would do well to coach high school ball.
  • by Brian Location: Georgetown on Mar 15, 2009 at 12:54 AM
    Think of what Pitino did with a bunch of Eastern Ky high school players. Billy G can not coach talent. He has two of the best players in the country. Pitino didn't have two of the best players in Ky. We need a coach who values and honors our rich tradition and storied history. I am embarresed to watch records being broke that have stood for years. Our program is the laughing stock of the NCAA. I have been a CATS fan from the womb, I want to see us BACK ON TOP.... GO-CATS!!
  • by Barbie Location: Orlando, FL on Mar 8, 2009 at 08:58 PM
    Has anyone thought of bringing in a coach that has played at KY. That knows, lives and breathes our legacy? I am all about getting Travis Ford to KY! And after talking to other UK fans in Gainsville on Saturday, I'm not the only one who wants one of our own Alumni players to be coaching our team. Ford knows our style of play. the whole game on Saturday, we wasted too much time "trying' to set up plays instead of driving to the basket. Nothing else needs to be said. GET TRAVIS FORD BACK TO KY!!!
  • by Cristy Location: London on Mar 8, 2009 at 01:42 PM
    I don't blame Patterson for not wanting to enter the NIT. It's almost like a personal insult to a player that has played his heart out!!!! Never the less, should they end up in the NIT, I am a die hard Big Blue Fan and I'll cheer them on all the way!!!! Once again, GO BIG BLUE!!!!!!
  • by jerald Location: paducah,ky on Mar 8, 2009 at 11:19 AM
    almost identical records for two years. if ky doesn,t fire gilespie you will see more of the same.no improvement as the season progressed. make a change now or see ky. continue to slide into mediocrety. no more top 25.no more ncaa, everybody,s patsy.


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