Ain't Karma a Bitch: Did One Halftime Interview Change the Season's Course?
We all saw it, some of us cringed, some of us shrugged our shoulders, all of us had some sort of reaction. Well, seems like karma noticed as well. Since that excruciating halftime interview with Jeannine Edwards of ESPN, Billy Gillispie and the Kentucky Wildcats have gone from a Top 25 Ranking to a very uncomfortable seat on the NCAA Bubble.
Leading 39-37 at the half, the UK Coach was asked by the sideline reporter about Jodie Meeks, a media-darling, if you will, after his 54-point performance against Tennessee only two weeks prior on the same network, and a defense designed specifically to stop the National Player of the Year candidate. Gillispie's answer was at best short, and at worst, downright rude. Though I don't necessarily disagree with his sentiment that Kentucky basketball is, and has always been, more than about just one player, there's also something to be said about just politely answering a question and getting in the locker room. There's an old adage that there are no "stupid questions", but apparently Coach Gillispie never heard that one.
Throughout Kentucky's illustrious history in college basketball, which includes seven National Championships and forty-three SEC Championships (Regular Season or Tournament), not one single player has ever been named Player of the Year. So, Billy's response is technically accurate, but it was also unnecessary.
Now, Karma has gotten involved and the UK Basketball team and fanbase are feeling the effects. Since that interview, Kentucky proceeded to give up 48 points in the second half of that game to lose to Ole Miss 85-80. That loss dropped Kentucky from the Top 25 and also gave them their first setback in the SEC, after going undefeated in the first five.
The Cats presently sit at 19-10, 8-6 in SEC play. That's a far cry from the 16-4 (5-0) records they displayed pre-interview. Meeks hasn't scored over his average, 25.1 pts/gm as of today, but twice since the question and, when he did, he needed over 20 shots to do it.
Today, with less than two weeks to Selection Sunday, Kentucky sits right on the bubble after losing a heartbreaker to LSU on Saturday on a late game three-pointer after leading in the second half by 10 points. Luckily, Kentucky will not play any more games on ESPN this season.
So, I'm going to be the first one to try to get Karma back on the side of the Big Blue Nation. I'll be Kentucky's version of Earl from the NBC sit-com. Today, I'll try to make up for #1 on my "list": Made Jeannine Edwards look stupid on national television.
To Jeannine: I apologize profusely for our head coach's reaction to your question. Though I agree with him, I also believe he should have just answered your question without any additional commentary. Those halftime interviews are tough, and you've done a much better job than such illustrious names as Bonnie Bernstein (see interview with Roy Williams after the 2003 Championship game loss to Syracuse) and Jim Rome (see interview with Jim Everett).
Let me know if I can cross you off our Big Blue Karma List. If not, let me know what else we can do.
Kentucky is going to need every bit of help we can get, and I'm not afraid to admit it.
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