Lately Kentucky coach John Calipari has been saying this: ''We're not a very good team right now."
Well he's right about that. Despite astounding talent, Kentucky is not playing very well.
After the Texas A&M escape, he said this: "I don't want us to be great right now anyway.We need to be great at the end of February and March ... you win and you learn. It's winning and learning and that's all we're trying to do.''
He's at least partly right there, even if it's disingenuous.
Kentucky is winning, but despite some imposing wins, look at some of the closer games:
Buffalo. Texas. Columbia. Louisville. And in the SEC, Kentucky's now had two overtime games, one against Ole Miss and Sunday's near miss at Texas A&M, where the Cats won in double overtime.
Pitino is absolutely correct about peaking near tournament time, but here's the problem: this team has shown a tendency to play down to opponents. And we're quite sure Calipari is troubled by Kentucky's rocky SEC start because understandably, he wants his team to be great.
But great teams challenge themselves to be great.
We remember being on campus in the summer of 1991 and watching the entire team, led by Christian Laettner and Brian Davis, walk wordlessly from Cameron to the track in Wallace Wade.
There were no coaches, no hangers-on, no one but the team. And they ran hard too, every one of them.
We understood at that point that that team had unity and purpose.
Does Kentucky? Or is it going to be remembered as a collection of extraordinary talent which underachieved?
The new polls come out on Monday and given the last couple of games, you may see some minor slippage in the voting. Not much, but it won't surprise us if you see Duke or Virginia pick up a few votes this time.
Duke has to play better to be a legitimate #1, but you could make a strong argument for Virginia. That team is really playing well.