March 16, 2013
For the second straight season, Vanderbilt has knocked Kentucky off in the NCAA tournament, buy my-oh-my, how the circumstances change.
Last year, the Vanderbilt loss was Kentucky's second loss of the season, and the first that they suffered at the hands of an SEC foe. It would also be the last, as the Wildcats ran through the NCAA tournament and won the national title.
A bad Vandy team may have just knocked Kentucky out of the NCAA tournament with a 64-48 pounding. It puts UK into quite a precarious position: will wins over Missouri and Florida in the past month be enough to get a team that's missing their best player into the NCAA tournament after taking this kind of a whipping in their league tourney?
We won't know until Sunday.
What we do know, however, is that the wait is not going to be fun.
"Its definitely going to be agonizing," Archie Goodwin said after the game. "We're all going to be a little worried. This didn't help us at all. I know for a fact this really hurt us. We just gotta hope that things go our way."
"I know there's not 67 teams better than us in the country," Julius Mays added, "but hey, it's up to them and hopefully they give us the opportunity. … Normally, I don't even pay attention to [what the rest of the teams on the bubble do]. It just happens, I don't want to sit and stress myself out. I just hope everything that we need to happen happens."
The guy to feel bad for is Ryan Harrow, who has had a roller coaster of a season. He played one of his worst games as a Wildcat on Friday night, finishing 2-15 from the floor with four turnovers, and the loss clearly hit him hard. He was in tears talking to reporters after the game:
That's a feeling that's never going to disappear. If Kentucky misses the NCAA tournament, Harrow will forever be known as the one point guard that couldn't get Kentucky into the tournament, let alone into title contention. And with the Harrison twins coming next season — and with Cal already out on the road going after point guards in the Class of 2014 — it doesn't look like Harrow will ever get another shot to change his legacy.
This was supposed to be his one-year stopover.
Instead, he'll hear his name and his performance dragged through the mud over the next two days while he can only sit and wait to see if Kentucky did enough to earn an at-large bid.
That's a tough way to see a season end.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
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