By Ashley Scoby
Tuesday night provided an example of why most college basketball fans detest Kentucky.
Because most fans get behind teams like 19-10 Georgia. They get their hopes up, thinking that the little guy is going to pull through with the big upset. Georgia isn’t even a “little guy” in the mid-major sense, but that’s another reason why most of college basketball fans hate Kentucky: Because Kentucky makes everyone else look small, both physically and in the “chance to win the basketball game” category.
The Bulldogs held a nine-point lead midway through the second half, at home, against the top-ranked and 29-0 Wildcats on Tuesday. Make no mistake: They were playing out of their minds. In many respects, Georgia deserved to win.
Twitter was ablaze with the “will this be the night?” and “we are all Georgia” tweets. ESPN was sending out upset alerts through its mobile app. The college basketball world thought it would see unranked Georgia pull off something special.
But it was Kentucky that pulled off something special. And that’s why college basketball fans don’t like Kentucky. The Wildcats ruin it for the upset bids, the raucous home crowds and the 19-10 teams like Georgia that have hope.
Kentucky trailed by nine with 9:12 remaining, and Georgia’s home crowd was losing its collective mind. To that point, the Bulldogs had, without question, outplayed Kentucky. They had out-rebounded, out-shot, out-hustled, out-everythinged the No. 1 team in the country.
By the 5:35 mark, Kentucky was down six. Then, it was as if the Wildcats simply said to themselves: “You know what? We would rather not lose tonight.” So they simply didn’t.
One 16-2 run later, Kentucky walked out the victor, 72-64.
And that is why most college basketball fans just plain don’t like Kentucky.
The Wildcats won in the same ways it has before: Karl-Anthony Towns beasting his way through defenders and simply bullying his way into baskets (he finished with 19 points in 27 minutes).
Then there were the Harrison twins slashing through the paint and combining for 28 points. On a night when Willie Cauley-Stein struggled, Marcus Lee popped up out of nowhere for two baskets, including a one-handed dunk off an Andrew Harrison lob that had the UK bench barely containing themselves.
If one media member or fan has said it, a million have: Kentucky just finds ways to win. When one guy disappears from the stat sheet, another one waltzes right onto it. At this point, the Wildcats (30-0) have won in nearly every conceivable way.
Just when you think you’ve stuck a dagger in them, you realize it was just a needle, and Kentucky is ripping it out and throwing it right back in your face. The Wildcats can be beaten – everyone is beatable – but 30 different methods have failed. Regardless of if it finishes its SEC slate (both regular season and tournament) still perfect, Kentucky will be the runaway favorite to win the national title.
Even if a loss happens along the way, Kentucky is about as close to a perfect basketball team, physically and, it seems, mentally, as there can be.
And that, perhaps more than anything, is why most college basketball fans can’t stand Kentucky.
Ashley Scoby is a senior journalism major at the University of Kentucky and a KyForward sports writer. She has reported on the Wildcats for wildcathoops.com, vaughtsviews.com andkysportsreport.com as well as for newspapers in Danville and Glasgow. She will begin a summer internship with Sports Illustrated magazine in New York this June.
Courtesy of KyForward