Dreamer’s World March 23, 2018 – March Madness Is Over

    March Madness is over with, at least for me. My alma mater, the University of Kentucky, was eliminated from the tournament last night after a hard-fought and mistake-prone battle with Kansas State. I cannot sit here and say that Kentucky deserved to win for any logical reason, they played a sloppy game and were lucky to be in it until the final buzzer.
    I am not an emotional fan these days. I can no longer afford the luxury of wallowing in self-pity over a loss. I can say that the Kentucky fan base has behaved very poorly over the last few years and that behavior seems to be getting worse, at least judging from the online community. I know that some of these online fans are nothing more than children, they show the emotional response of spoiled infants when things don’t go their way.
    Sadly, this immature behavior has extended to the coaching staff to a degree. After Kentucky lost last year, Kentucky coach John Calipari openly complained about the officiating in the loss, and this encouraged the childish fans to react and threaten the livelihood and the life of the official after the game. I was very annoyed with this behavior, but I hoped that there was a lesson learned and something like this would not happen again.
    Fast forward to last night, and the Kentucky coaches and team walked off the court without congratulating Kansas State after the game. I cannot excuse that behavior, it has to be condemned. If that is the lesson, then the teacher is at fault.

Dreamer’s World January 23, 2018 – Big Blue Blahs

    I was born and raised in western Kentucky. I have been a Big Blue fan all of my life. As I grew up and attended college, it was at Kentucky. I was in the marching band and sat through some awful seasons so that I could be in the basketball pep band and go to all of the home basketball games. I had the time of my life watching the program that I love. I look back fondly to those years.
    Today I find myself seriously reconsidering the time and effort I still put into following Big Blue. Times have changed, and so have I. Over the years I have learned that there is more to life than just winning and losing. Competition is supposed to build character in both the athlete and the fan. I no longer feel that the world ends when Kentucky loses a big game, it is merely a part of life, and I know that I will still have things to do and work after a loss.
As much as I want to like this year’s UK basketball team, I just cannot do it. I suppose that what makes me tired of the current basketball team is just the lack of chemistry. For all of the talent that these young men possess, they merely are a collection of talent that has not worked together as a real team should. The problem with turnovers is just beyond me. It seems like such a fundamental issue that should not be a concern at this level. I am not an expert on coaching basketball, but I wonder how a player can be considered so talented when something as fundamental as ball possession remains an issue.
    Part of this is the fact that the UK players were so much better than their high school competition that they could play without as much discipline or fundamentals, and that these bad habits catch up to them immediately when they get to college where the players on the other team are older and much more experienced. It seems like the logical answer, but again, I am no expert. Speaking of experience, the fact that so many players come to Kentucky to only play for one year seems to produce a stunning lack of consistency for the program. The wins are there for the most part, but the program lacks a real identity and consists of continually changing players with little or no experience to guide them through the season and into March Madness.
    We all knew what we were going to get when Calipari became the basketball coach at Kentucky. Coach Cal is a guru at attracting talent that rarely stays at school for more than a year or two. I believe that what has happened at Kentucky is that the name on the jersey and the allure of the program has allowed Calipari to merely load his entire roster with players that won’t be around that long. In the past, when Coach Cal was at Memphis, he would have a solid core of players who stayed for 4 years, and this made a difference in how the team came together.
    This brings up one criticism that I have against Coach Cal and his style. I think that when a player decides to come back for another year at Kentucky, that Calipari almost punishes them by not giving them any reward for loyalty. He seems to view returning players as practice squad material because he recruits to put an entirely new team on the floor each season. I note the year when multiple players returned, and the team was so good that Kentucky could put two complete teams on the floor in rotation. I understand that level of talent was a once-in-a-lifetime event, but it does make me wonder what would happen if returning players were viewed as something other than failures because they were not projected as first-round draft picks for the NBA. I appreciate that Coach Cal wants each player to be the best they can be, but at the same time, loyalty does count for something more than a spot on the bench for returning players.
    I know that Calipari cares about his players. I have never doubted that. However, his defense of them does seem to cause problems at times. When he criticizes the officials, it comes across as sour grapes. It gives Kentucky basketball a bad name. Coach Cal also seems to relish controversy at times. His recent remarks about a top recruit who chose to attend Duke University does no good for anyone. It makes him appear to be a sore loser. He should keep his mouth shut more often.
    This brings me to the Kentucky fans. I mentioned growing up and moving on with life earlier in this post. Sadly, there seem to be too many UK fans who have not accomplished this yet. Even when I was a student, we picked on the officials, but it was always in a way that never involved threats to someone’s life or career. In the last year, some Kentucky fans have decided that it is OK to threaten officials and this is unacceptable. I understand that this is only a small percentage of the fans argument that is always the first response when this is brought up, but the glossing over of the problem disturbs me. Someone is going to get hurt before the issue is genuinely addressed, and it will have been preventable.
    Whenever Kentucky loses an NCAA tournament game, the first headlines involve riots breaking out. People make fun of Kentucky for many reasons, but this one hurts because I am from Kentucky and I would never act that way over a basketball game. Don’t blame alcohol for these problems, alcohol only lessens inhibitions, so that means that this behavior was lurking in these people and the basketball game just provided an excuse for them to act out.
    With all of the things I have mentioned, I have to step away from Big Blue Nation for a while. Life is too important to allow a game to get in the way of enjoying it. I wish the team and the young men the very best, but I cannot make the emotional investment any longer. This might change in the future, only time will tell.

Waiting on Game 7

Here we sit on Wednesday evening waiting for game 7 between the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins. I love the NHL and do live in the DCD Area, but can honestly say that neither rank among my favorites. Like so many, I am a transplant to the DC area so I have no loyalty to the Capitals. The main thing that is interesting to me is something that was covered in the Washington Post, the question of which team and city manages to take losses worse than the other?


I know Caps fans that are always one foot on the ledge. They are either extremely excited about the best team that they have ever had, or they are despondent about that same team being unable to win in the playoffs.

They have met their match in Boston fans. It takes very little adversity for the sky to start falling on them.

I just hope that it is a good game, and that family members hide all shapr objects from the fans of both teams.

UK vs Baylor 2nd half

I had just finished some laundry during halftime and got back just as the half started. When  Anthony Davis went down, I thought my heart would stop. He has developed so much this year to have an injury sideline him.Seeing him in pain on the bench was awful, and I was so relieved to see him back in the game.

UK has proven that they can compete and win with Davis in foul trouble, but it is so much easier with him in the lineup. UK continues to stay in control of the game, but the scare is still in me due to Davis and also the Baylor players that were injured as the second half began.

UK 52 Baylor 33 with 14:00 left in the game. Teague just committed his 3rd foul on another un-necessary play. Teague is the only weak spot in this game for UK, Lamb needs to take the point for most of the remainder of this game.

Baylor is showing some fight, as I expected they would because they are too talented a team to not respond to UK. The margin is remaining at the 17-19 point range so Calipari has time to make the adjustments he has to.

I cannot help the feeling that Baylor has at least one good run left in them before this game is finally over. UK has to retain their poise and keep things under control and they should be fine. Free throws are gonna be key down the stretch for UK. Expecting another 35 of 37 game is unrealistic, but UK still has to make them count at the line.

MKG just got his 4th foul at the 11:00 mark. Get him to the bench and keep him there unless Baylor catches fire. Time for Jones to pick up some of the MKG effort.

Teague has not had a good game, I am not sure what, if anything, is wrong with him. His decisions today about penetrating have been ill-advised, although his passing has been excellent. Halfway through the 2nd half and UK holds a 15 point lead.

For the first time, UK seems to lack a sense of urgency. Hard to do when you have held a large lead for such a big part of the game, but it is time for another run from Big Blue.

I can feel my stomach turning right now. Baylor just forced Anthony Davis into his 4th foul and then UK has to call TO when they can’t inbound the ball! I need another beer!

Once again, UK has to keep the margin in their favor at the FT line. Miller nails 2 and the bleeding (metaphorically)seems to have stopped for a minute.

If Baylor cuts the deficit to single digits, UK will really have their work cut out for them. It is close right now at 13 with just over 8 minutes remaining.

Calipari needs to light a fire under the team during this TO. I cannot blame Teague for getting stranded away from the basket when no one comes to help him, but at least UK gets the basket.

MKG all the way! Lead is back to 17 with 6:40 left to play. This game isn’t over with yet.

MKG with the monster rebound off the missed FT!

Now I am feeling much better about this game. UK seems to have weathered the Baylor attack, let’s just hope that there isn’t another one that catches UK by surprise.

3:32 left and now the realization that UK is on their way to Blue Orleans and the Final Four is solidifying. Now the matchup with loserville begins to take shape. While I am glad to see two Kentucky teams in the Final Four, I would much rather have seen Murray State as the team other than UK.

Now the endless series of timeouts has begun. This is going to take forever. UK just played a tremendously sloppy sequence on offense as they are trying to mile the clock and end up turning the ball over.

I am surprised that Baylor hasn’t started fouling yet. 2:00 left and UK leads 74-59.

And now the timeouts have started.

UK vs Baylor 1st Half

Watching the game and trying to put down my observations. All credit to Baylor for bringing the fight to UK from the opening tip. Baylor seems a little intimidated by the atmosphere in CAT-LANTA, as witnessed by the hard foul on Acy very early in the game.

The game settled down for a few minutes. Not worried by the Baylor lead. UK has kept their cool and responded with a 10-0 run to turn 10-7 deficit into a 17-10 lead. 12:00 left in the half as Miller nails one!

UK continues the run until Baylor ends it at 16-0. Loving the confidence that UK is showing as the game goes on.

On a side note, I HATE the Direct TV commercials.

Just imagining how much more $ CATLANTA could make if all the upper deck seats were sold. We KNOW that UK fans would be there!

AD just loves the top of the key.

UK has maintained their lead as we approach the 8:00 mark. Nice to see UK shot-blocking in play today. A question that has to be answered is whether or not UK can maintain their excellence at the FT line. The jury is out right now.

Time to catch my breath and relax. UK seems to have taken control of the game for the time being, but Baylor is an excellent team that will surely have more than one run in them before this is over. 7:12 left in the half.

MKG is having a nice game, what a heart he has! Teague has to get his game on and quit trying to force his way into the lane. Wiltjer is in the game and I feel that he is going to get his shots.

UK 34-17

I am impressed by UK’s performance today. While the game is far from over, the Cats have played like they expect to be here. The confidence is visible watching them right now.

3 minutes left in the half, and UK has a 40-20 lead. Keep pushing, CATS!

Last minute of the half and UK needs to keep this level of performance in the 2nd half to secure the trip to Blue Orleans.

Halftime UK 42 Baylor 22

Epic game last night

Still celebrating UK’s victory over Indiana last night. I loved the entire game and the pace that it was played at. It made such a nice change from the grind-it-out affairs that we see so often. UK stays alive and I still want to see them bring home Championship #8!

Settling down for more March Madness

Tonight March Madness resumes at last! The days are getting longer, warmer and more beautiful, Spring is here and I am hopeful that UK will win tomorrow night. As far as tonight’s action, I hope that Michigan State beats Louisville and Florida pulls off the upset against Marquette. In the other bracket, I have to pull for Ohio over North Carolina and NC State to beat Kansas. All personal preferences.