It’s now or never for Cats to resurrect season

Column by J.D. Williams

There’s an indelible difference between a team that stinks, whose wins come few and light-years between, and a team that is good but just in a funk.

You’ll notice it because the fans of a good team enduring a bad run will leave the arena after a tough loss with their index finger still standing upward. Not to indicate the home team is No. 1 and surely not to acknowledge their team’s dominance after an obvious loss.

But it’s just to say: one day. Not that day, and maybe not tomorrow, but one day they will emerge from there dormant place and once again dominate.

For the UK basketball team’s chances this season, that day is either today or never.

UK’s big losses against cupcake teams early in the season made for a steep uphill battle. The final scores against those rather easy opponents were anything but sweet. Frankly, it was bitter down to the last bite.

After a morale boosting win Saturday against Vanderbilt, a team that hadn’t been beaten, the Cats presented themselves the opportunity to make good out of a most terrible situation. The chance to get the season going in the right direction couldn’t come at a better time.

The double-overtime win marked the start of a Southeastern Conference schedule that will challenge the Cats. The way UK properly handled its first conference foe after a lackluster start to the season has us all asking one question: Will the real Cats please stand up?

Unfortunately for UK the answer to that question is still up in the air, being blown toward the disappointing truth.

The fact is that the same ailments that forced the Cats to stagger under the .500 mark are still persistent problems. Once again Billy Gillispie is unsure about whether sophomore guards Jodie Meeks and Derrick Jasper will suit up for another game. Problems with injuries have plagued the team in the early part of the season.

Just when you though it was safe to get out the pompoms and face paint, the injury bug came roaring back.

UK can’t be short on men against Mississippi State tonight, or any of the upcoming SEC teams in the next weeks. If so, then they better consider changing the mascot to the Titanics, because the SEC teams are icebergs UK can’t avoid. The league is physical and teams with depth can thrive in it. If the Cats can’t find the muscle to stay on the hardwood instead of bathing in whirlpools then all the hoopla over Saturday’s win was for no reason.

The Kernel Wants You

The Krystal Ball is a contest where members of the Kernel sports staff and one lucky UK student pick the outcomes of the top college games of the weekend. The Krystal Ball football edition concluded at the end of the fall semester, with assistant sports editor Matthew George taking the crown. Now the staff is wiping the slate clean and beginning the college basketball edition of the contest, which will start next week. And we want to hear from another representative of the people.

If any of you fans want to join in picking college basketball’s top games e-mail Eric Lindsey, our sport’s editor, at [email protected] with the subject “Krystal Ball” by Jan. 20, and let us know why you’d be the best choice.

J.D. Williams is a journalism senior. E-mail at [email protected]