Needing a win to keep their tourney hopes alive Kentucky came out and failed to take advantage of a poor Georgia team on Senior Night. You could tell from the opening tip that Kentucky did not come ready to play yet again and Georgia came out firing on all cylinders and downed Kentucky at home 90-85. Georgia who in the previous meeting only scored 45 points in the entire game scored 2 more than that in the first half alone. In a game that everyone in the entire state knew was a must win once again this team came out and flat laid an egg. You just have to wonder how time and time again this team can come so unprepared especially against a team that Kentucky is so much better than. With last night’s loss the only way I can see this team making the field of 65 is if they can win 4 games in 4 days to get the automatic bid from the SEC and considering UK has struggled to put 2 good games together it seems unrealistic to believe that this team could somehow come together and win four straight in four straight days. Joe Lunardi said today and said that he believes that if UK can somehow win at Florida this weekend and can beat a bubble team in the SEC tournament than he believes that UK would still get an at large bid to the tourney. With the way this season has gone I fully do not expect that any of these scenarios will play out and I believe we will miss the tourney, but all it could take is Jodie catching fire and single handily leading us to the SEC tourney championship.
Now onto what every Kentucky fan is talking about today: Billy Gillispie and his future with this program. The worst thing that could happen to Kentucky basketball right now would be to fire Billy at the end of this season and I will tell you why. Any chance Kentucky has of getting Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson to return next year would be gone as their is no chance those two would stay and learn a new system and play for a new coach, even if Billy stays one or both might go pro, but if he is not the head coach next year than no way either of them suit up for Kentucky next year.
This would kill recruiting next year and perhaps a couple years down the road, Billy has already locked down an excellent class for 2009 with studs in Daniel Orton, Jon Hood, and GJ Vilarino and if Billy is gone they will have the option of opening up their recruitment and looking elsewhere and perhaps they all still stay on at Kentucky, but chances are one of them very well would end up signing a letter of intent elsewhere.
No matter who you are a coach needs at least 3 years to implement his system get his players into his system and get the program running the way he wants it to run. I am very grateful for all Tubby Smith did for this program and have great respect for the man, but Tubby stayed 2 years too long and it completely shows out on the floor right now as the type of players we have on this roster are not your typical studs that normally suit up for the blue and white. Billy has a roster full of players that Tubby recruited that for the most part do not suit his style of play and are just not what Billy needs right now. Should Billy be losing like he is? No he should not be and we all know that, but he needs more time, he needs to get his players that fit his system.
If we are sitting in this same situation next year no matter if Jodie and Patrick leave or stay than I definitely think it might be time to asses the situation and consider the option that Billy might not be the man for the job, but as of right now I think firing Billy would be the wrong move and I would not support it. Give him one more year and see if things can be turned around. No one is happy with where this program is at currently, but I believe we would see things get much worse before they get better if Billy is not here next year.