I know we're all fans, and I know there's always a temptation to let our emotions take over in the immediate wake of an unpleasant result.
But I'd like to remind you that these things happen. To pretty much everyone. Maybe if you're Kansas or Texas or Kentucky you don't lose by 25, but even they're going to have a stinker or two. Kansas, the No. 1 team in the country, played a Tennessee team Sunday that is without four regular rotation players who are either dismissed or suspended thanks to driving with alcohol, marijuana and unregistered firearms. And lost.
In fact, the last time this happened to this team, I said much the same thing as I'm going to say to you now.
If you thought this team was pretty good before, you should still think it's pretty good now. This was a hard lesson to learn, but I think the lone senior on the team -- the one guy on the roster who really knows what it takes for a college basketball team to be successful on the highest level -- summed it up best after the game:
"We came out flat and with no energy," said senior Nik Koprivica. "When you mess up the routine we’re used to, it kind of shows that – I’m not pointing at any guys – but it’s just like (we’re) a little relaxed and we’ll come to the game late, late for this, late for that, at the game everything will be alright." ...
"I don’t think the score shows they are that much better than we are," he said. "But it shows if we don’t come out 100 percent and we don’t do the things we are supposed to do, anybody can beat us by a lot.
"We’re just not a good enough team to just go through the motions."
You know what that sounds like to me? (Other than Nik's best Tony Bennett impersonation?) That this "late" issue wasn't just yesterday. This wasn't just Ken Bone being a hard ass for the sake of proving some sort of ego-driven point. This was Bone drawing a line in the sand, saying enough is enough, and showing them what kind of commitment and dedication it's going to take to be successful.
In a way, I'm glad it happened yesterday. In the grand scheme of things, ASU is pretty decent, and I'm not sure we win that game on the road under the best circumstances anyway. I'd much rather the kids learn a hard lesson against the Sun Devils than against, say, Stanford at home this weekend.
In fact, BigWood said it perfectly in the postgame thread:
I wasn’t upset we lost today. I figured we would. But ASU is NOT 25 points better than us. We’ll learn from this and get after them harder in Pullman next month.
So, if you haven't taken a deep breath yet, do so now. It's going to be OK. Bone's a great coach who has nurtured a fair amount of resiliency in these guys. They've bounced back before, and they'll do so again. That they were so thoroughly embarrassed right before Cal comes to town can only serve to focus them on the little things they're going to need to do to beat the team I still think is the best in the conference.