Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Orange Crushed: A Soapbox Moment

The Cats took another home loss on the chin tonight. Led by new coach Bruce Pearl sporting a Jim Carrey-esque orange suit, the much improved Vols continued their unforeseen successful run through the SEC. With a chip on his shoulder for not being recruited by Kentucky or Louisville, former Kentucky Mr. Basketball Chris Lofton returned to Rupp Arena and lit up the Cats with 31 points including seven three-pointers.

Just to torture myself I ventured over to one of the UK message boards after the game to see the comments that some "fans" were leaving about the coach and the team. 1250+ users were logged on creating threads like "Tubby was horrible tonight," "Most embarassing home game ever," "Major overhaul needed." It's unbelievable.

Which brings me to my point about UK basketball fans -- pardon me while I climb on my soapbox. Unfortunately a minority but very vocal segment of Kentucky basketball fans are the most overreacting bunch of Chicken Little hypochondriacs in all of college basketball. To make matters worse, because they scream the loudest they get the attention and the spotlight to represent Kentucky basketball fans. Well they don't represent me. Don't get me wrong -- this season has been very frustrating to watch as a UK fan. Gone is the trademark defense that has been a signature of Tubby-coached teams. The current crop of Cats struggles to score for long periods of time. And no matter how many Tubby stares he gives his players, these guys still take questionable shots and have way too many careless turnovers to win close games.

All of that said, no team in college basketball has more wins or a better winning percentage over the last three years than Kentucky. Not Duke, not North Carolina, not Kansas, not Arizona. Yet "fans" call for a coaching change despite this success -- it is shortsighted, reactionary, and ridiculous. The vocal minority needs to take a valium and chill the heck out. No matter how bad people want the Cats to win, they don't want it as bad as Tubby Smith and his coaches want it. I have faith in Tubby as a coach that he will turn it around.

All he needs is an orange suit.


Anonymous said...

Let's step off the soapbox for a moment and ask ourselves why Tubby had Sparks ride the pine the entire 2nd half and let 5'9" Stockton (yes he is from Glasgow but not D1 caliber) guard Lofton during the majority of his 31 points (and 7 treys)? With this being such a crucial game and Sparks being a key part of the recent 5 game winning streak, it's inconceivable that Tubby would keep Sparks on the bench if he truly wanted to win. Here's an idea, let's let Rondo and/or Perry shoots 3's because I sure wouldn't want a 40% 3-point shooter playing in the last 5 mins of a 1 point game against a top ten opponent. To me, that is Dumb and Dumber!!!

Danny said...

Agreed. Even down here in the football mecca of Knoxville, you didn't hear anyone calling for Fulmer's head after Tennessee missed playing in a bowl game for the first time in his tenure. It's a sad day when I think Vol fans have better perspective than Cat fans.

Joe Downing said...

I agree, Derek! I get so tired of hearing people blame Tubby. Better to blame the shooters that miss wide open shots. Keep up the fight for Tubby!