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Kentucky Wildcats In Free Fall: Lose Third Straight

Justin FiehrerCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2009

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

That's the motto Kentucky must take from this game because, for the second straight year, the Kentucky Wildcats failed to do much of anything against a less-than-stellar Mississippi State team.

Most of the time when I write articles, I like to write about game analysis, but frankly there isn't much analysis to take from this game. As Billy Gillispie likes to say, "We got whipped."

Yes, you sure did coach. Now what are you going to do about it?

For the third straight game Kentucky has looked lost. They've looked confused. They've looked everything except good. And now after winning their opening five SEC conference games and entering the AP top-25, this team sits right back on the bubble. Why?

Well, mostly because they sit back and refuse to play with anything remotely close to real effort.

For the first time in my life, I am disappointed to be a Kentucky Wildcat fan. Even last year when the depths couldn't get any lower and the 'Cats were 7-9, at least I knew they were playing their hardest. At least I knew they really weren't "that" good.

But this team?

This team is better than that. This team is a top-25 team. They've played like a top-25 team. Unfortunately they do not deserve to be in the top-25. Nor does this team deserve to even be considered for an NCAA tourney bid.

They may be one of the top-64 teams in the nation, but you gotta earn it. The NCAA Tournament, year-in and year-out, is about heart. It's about grit and determination.

Do you have the will to win? When your backs are against the wall and you know this could be the last game of your lives, are you going to step up? This team doesn't have that will or determination. They may find those qualities, but right now they are non-existent.

Too many times I saw freebies on three-pointers. Too many times I witnessed a Bulldog guard blowing by Kentucky defenders because they weren't giving it their all. The players can defend themselves all they want by saying they're in a slump.

They can say they're giving it their all, but until they reach the end of the game and feel the pain from giving it everything they have, they won't deserve anything.

Jarvis Varnado is the best shot-blocker in the nation, yet because of Kentucky's lack of knowledge and basketball smarts, they continued to drive the lane at Varnardo and continued to get blocked.

So there you have it. Just because a team may have the talent, and they may have played good games in the past, doesn't mean they are worthy of recognition.

If you aren't smart enough to play basketball, and you don't have the will power to do what you need to do on the court, then you don't deserve to play.

I hope the next practice is a living hell for the Wildcat players. You have one week to prepare for Florida. One week. You better change your attitude before then, or you're gonna get blown out of the water again.

You better hope you have a parachute to slow down this free-fall.