Patrick Reusse: Kentucky struggling and fans blame Tubby

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 19, 2007 - 8:45 PM

The Wildcats sent the new Gophers coach packing, but his replacement hasn't measured up.

The Houston Cougars shot 36 percent on Tuesday night and still had no trouble defeating Kentucky 83-69. This gave the Wildcats a four-game losing streak for the first time since the 1989-90 season. It also put them at 4-5 for the fourth time in 104 years of Kentucky basketball.

The rabid followers of the 'Cats seem to have no problem identifying the source of this ineptitude. A gentleman calling himself "Freydaddy" summarized opinions in a Wednesday morning post at Wildcat Nation. Here's a condensed version:

"I'm getting sick of the broadcasters slamming us for forcing out Tubby [guilty as charged], quoting his win-loss record [fine numbers on the surface] and praising his character [no argument], but in the next minute, they will discuss the overall lack of talent.

"CONNECT THE DOTS!

There's a reason we forced him out. We saw last night where we would be without BCG getting Patterson ...

"This is Tubby's mess and that is why he is gone."

Tubby is our new Minnesota basketball coach, Tubby Smith, of course. BCG is Smith's replacement, Billy Gillispie, and by all account the C could stand for Crazed. Patterson is Patrick Patterson, a 6-9 freshman from Huntington, W. Va.

What's interesting with these Wildcats wackos is that, in their world, Gillispie gets the credit for recruiting Patterson, even though he had made a verbal commitment to Kentucky and started to vacillate only after Smith found a new home in Minneapolis.

Smith also had a verbal commitment from Jai Lucas, who reneged after Tubby's departure and is now a freshman starter at point guard for Florida.

The real laughs in scanning the Wildcats' fan boards come with the realization that this is simply a larger version of what's gone on in Minnesota with the Gophers' football program.

There actually is a nation of Kentucky basketball fans as compared to the Dinkytown of Gophers football. And Big Blue Nation decided all it would take to quickly restore Kentucky to Final Four status was to dump Smith and bring in Gillispie, a sideline screamer, arm-waver and alleged star recruiter.

The Wildcats' multitudes spent months celebrating Smith's departure and Gillispie's arrival, spent months convincing themselves this was the greatest thing to happen to Kentucky basketball since the hiring of Rick Pitino -- spent so much time at these things that they are now incapable of placing any blame on Gillispie for his team's early-season implosion.

It has to be Tubby's fault, or these Big Blue bozos have to admit to the people to whom they were shooting off their mouths that Gillispie could have significant failings.

So, the bozos just keep screaming: "It's Tubby's fault. Wait until BCG gets his recruits in here."

Smith was 22-12 in 2006-07 at Kentucky. The Wildcats went 9-7 in the SEC, 1-1 in the conference tournament and then 1-1 in the NCAA, losing in the second round to Kansas.

Gillispie had a solid core of those players returning. He also had three notable freshmen: Smith recruits Patterson (a McDonald's All-America) and A.J. Stewart, and Alex Legion, a 6-4 guard, who was recruited by Gillispie after backing out at Michigan.

Legion was effective through six games, then left the program because he couldn't stand Gillispie. He's made the recruiting circuit again and apparently will wind up at Notre Dame.

Legion still was around when Kentucky lost by 16 at home to Gardner-Webb in the season's second game. Soon thereafter, Gardner-Webb lost to Radford.

Gillispie's four victories came in Rupp Arena against Central Arkansas, Liberty, Texas Southern and Stony Brook. The four-game losing streak has come against North Carolina (at Rupp), Indiana (without the Hoosiers' three leading scorers), Alabama-Birmingham (blowing a 15-point halftime lead) and Tuesday's abomination in Houston.

Clearly this is all Tubby's fault. If only he had recruited better, Gillispie could have inspired his team to an emotional victory over Garner-Webb.

You're right, folks: What they have in Big Blue Nation is simply a much larger collection of the Dinkytown dozens -- the Gophers football fans who spent eight months convincing themselves that Tim Brewster was the second coming of Pete Carroll, and then didn't know what to say when he produced a 1-11 disaster.

So they screamed, "It's Glen Mason's fault," which was more comforting than to consider the possibility of being taken in by a Music Man.

Patrick Reusse can be heard weekdays on AM-1500 KSTP at 6:45 and 7:45 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. • preusse@startribune.com

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