LSU Sends Kentucky to NIT

That was the headline describing the result of last year's SEC tournament. We all knew going in that it would take a monumental effort, and maybe an SEC tourney title to make the big dance. Part of me, though, believed the Cats would somehow sneak into the field of 65. That was not the case. The 2009 team was indeed...whipped. Not just by LSU and the rest of the league, but by the season itself. We've all heard horror stories about the antics of the man they call Clyde...bathroom stalls, Pop Tarts, dancing and wild women. In my humble opinion, the team was physically exhausted by the the grueling practice schedule and mentally exhausted by the drama.

What a difference a year makes.

This version of the Wildcats has been totally revamped from top to bottom by the most energetic and enthusiastic coach in the game. We have a different expectation this year. Fans, and most of the nation, expect the Cats to take home the SEC championship and make a legitimate run at a National crown.

We, as Kentucky fans, take a lot of heat about our unrealistic level of expectations. But you know what? I don't expect to win every year, or every two years...or even every three. I just want a chance to win. March is a craps shoot. Every season there are a handful of teams with the talent and coaching to have a real shot at cutting down the nets. I've thought Kentucky was in that conversation once in the last twelve years. Every other season I thought we either underachieved, or the talent level was so low that even if they overachieved, it wasn't enough a to make a run. What was so frustrating was everyone in the media claimed we were crazy and the program hadn't slipped at all. Now those same people sing the praises of Calipari for returning the program to the top. Go figure.

I would love to see a banner go up in Rupp this year. But even if that doesn't happen, what this team has done is make the Big Blue Nation believe again. We believe when the game is on the line a wiry kid with a cool dance will become unstoppable. We believe our veteran leader will score on the block and get a big offensive rebound. We believe Boogie will be Boogie. We are competitive again, on every level, and will be for years. That's what Kentucky basketball is all about.

What a difference a year makes.