Tuesday, March 19, 2013

UK Radio Team: Get Off Your High-Horse!

My Rant About the UK Radio Team

After a surprisingly lackluster season, the UK Wildcats are headed to the NIT, where they are favored to win it. While they rarely played to their potential, I expected them to get an at-large NCAA bid up until the end. My prediction was that they'd get a #12 or #13 seed in the west. But I was wrong.

The first game of the NIT is tonight so since I was in the car, I listened to some of the pre-game show on the radio. My UK fans will have to forgive me that I never remember their names... Oscar Something and I can't think of the other guy, but it doesn't matter.

First, they made fun of the stadium... True, it's not Rupp, but it's the game that counts. Having a small gym doesn't mean you're a small-hearted team. I assume the floor is the same size. If it's smaller, the team will be well rested, but it's probably the same. (Being an announcer from a huge gym and making fun of the small gym might mean the radio guys are either small-hearted, small-minded, or both.)

The point of this post is to say that I think these play-by-play guys owe the team an apology.  One asked,"So what do we do with the winning banner? Surely we wouldn't hang it!" The other one said, "You accept it graciously then hide it in a bedroom drawer."  Then they both laughed. That's insulting. It is insulting to the NIT and most importantly, it's insulting to the team. I hope none of them heard it.

No, winning the NIT is not as prestigious as winning the NCAA. The team hasn't even started the first game yet and they are already putting down winning the entire tournament.  Winning a tournament is still going out there and playing well game after game. So the competition isn't as tough as some you've played this season. That might be good - after all, they didn't always do well against those other teams. Now they can beat everyone!

In the past, some teams refused to play in the NIT, acting as if it was an insult. To the fans that enjoy watching the team, and to the players that enjoy playing, a game is a game. Maybe it's not as exciting as what you thought you'd see, but you can still enjoy the game!  Now, the coaches must decide at the beginning of the season if they'd accept a bid if offered one. Accepting a bid for the NIT means you weren't invited to the NCAA. Back when he agreed to play if asked, John Calipari probably laughed and said, "Sure, we'll play" and didn't think twice. After all, they were the defending national champions, had great players coming in, and were ranked #5 in the country! The NIT form was just a formality.

But as often happens in life, things didn't go according to plan. The Wildcats failed to get an NCAA invitation, but were offered an invitation to the NIT.  Hopefully, their fans will be classier than the radio commentators, men who supposedly are big UK fans.  When your own supporters are against you, what does this do to the guys that are playing? You don't think they're disappointed? Stop it with the attitude. Win the tournament and when you do, hang the banner proudly.  Don't belittle their achievement by hiding it.

I've never called in to the UK sports talk show, even though I've listened to it many times. Tonight almost convinced me to do so. The only reason I didn't is that frankly, I didn't want to hear the show as I waited because I was already too disgusted. If you're a UK fan, I encourage YOU to support your team better than these so-called-fans that call the game on the radio. Maybe someone will point out the error of their attitude and they'll apologize.

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