Tugging on Superman’s cape

Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison shoots the ball during the first half of the UK vs. Cincinnati game at the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday, March 21, 2015 in Louisville , Ky. Kentucky defeated Cincinnati 64-51. Photo by Adam Pennavaria

By Kyle Arensdorf

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“They don’t play hard.”

Wait, what?

West Virginia’s Daxter Miles Jr. made headlines and caused quite a stir in the Mountaineers’ presser Wednesday with those four words.

“They don’t play hard.”

Let’s set aside the idiocy of saying something like that about a team that has won every time it’s stepped on the court this season. But when will opposing teams learn?

“I don’t get it,” sophomore guard Aaron Harrison said. “It motivates us.”

In Miles Jr.’s defense, he is just a freshman, and being extremely confident before games has been West Virginia’s mantra of late. Plus, UK is very vulnerable at the moment. They’ve began the last two games admittedly slow and because they try to block nearly every shot that’s put up in the lane, it leaves them susceptible to opponents pulling down an inordinate amount of offensive rebounds.

On Saturday, Cincinnati grabbed 21 offensive rebounds, and West Virginia leads college basketball in that stat. Not to mention West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins has an 8-2 all-time record against UK head coach John Calipari. The reasons the Mountaineers could give UK a run for its money are plenty, and its chances of beating the Cats were better than most.

So why tug on Superman’s cape?

Didn’t they learn from what UK did to Arkansas in the SEC Championship game after some of the Razorbacks decided to talk trash to the Cats?

There’s confidence, and then there’s being irresponsible. Miles Jr.’s words may have slipped more toward the latter.

No matter how confident a player gets, there’s never a reason to take that confidence out of the locker room and articulate it to the media, especially when the opponent holds such a size advantage over your team.

“It puts a different mindset in your head. You’re not just playing to win the game anymore,” junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein said. “(It) adds fuel to the fire.”

Miles Jr. went on to say that “no one’s invincible. Their time’s gonna come. We’re going to pull it out,” and “They’re undefeated, but we’re trying to make them 36-1.” The Baltimore, Md., native doesn’t even play a huge part in West Virginia’s rather putrid offense. He averages a fifth-best 7.5 points per game, is eighth-best on the team in field goal percentage at 41 percent and is just 55 percent from the free throw line on the season.

It’s hard to see his upperclassmen teammates being impressed with his words Wednesday. He’s writing a check they just don’t have the personnel to cash.