In an apparent nod to the Oakland Raiders the Kentucky Wildcats broke out black uniforms today against the LSU Tigers in the SEC tournament. Apparently nobody connected with UK has realized the Raiders haven't played well since Rich Gannon started screaming at Hall of Famers for not catching his wounded ducks.
Rabid Lexingtonians watched in resigned melancholy as Jodie Meeks failed to reach double figures for the first time this season as the Wildcats headed to NIT land with a 68-59 loss.
This is the college hoops equivalent of finding out your annual Hawaiian vacation has been replaced with a exciting trip to Amish country, though Ezekiel and Jebediah will make you woolen leis if you ask nicely.
Considering this season's list of disappointments (lost five of six, lost at home to VMI) coach and all-around nice guy Billy Gillispie has been feeling the heat more than Jim Cramer under a neon "Daily Show" sign.
University of Kentucky President Lee Todd has said Billy G's status will be "evaluated" and athletic director Mitch Barnhart has indicated that Gillispie should be more of an approachable public figure. In other words, Billy, stop foaming at the mouth at the mention of Jeanine Edwards.
There could be other problems on the horizon as well. Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks, who are the only two players who understand that if you want to win you have to score more points than the other team (this philosophy was beautifully detailed by Dan Fouts in The Waterboy), are considering making actual money for playing a game.
DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller, who were actually quality recruits, may transfer. This could leave the following lineup for next season.
PG - Kevin Galloway SG - Michael Porter SF - Ramon Harris PF - Perry Stevenson C - Josh Harralson.
Bench - Three freshmen, some walk-ons and a couple kids in the stands who Gillispie will angrily confront after the game and force to quit until security escorts him out of the building.
Don't think a new coach will suddenly turn things around.
Considering the UK fan base ran Tubby Smith out of town (in all fairness, all Tubby has done in two years has taken some hockey players in Minnesota and won over 20 games this season) very few "name" coaches will want to subject themselves to the scrutiny that comes with being the Wildcats coach.
UCLA fans can offer some sympathies. After John Wooden retired, Gene Bartow, Gary Cunningham, Larry Brown, Larry Farmer and Larry from Newhart all took a shot at re-igniting the championship flames.
It wasn't until Jim Harrick taught third-grade and paid George Zidek several thousand dollars that the Bruins touched the trophy in April. Ben Howland has them back at elite status, but it took over 30 years.
Kentucky Wildcats, not champs until 2028-29? Unthinkable in Lexington? Maybe not.