Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 2/2/13
Even the darkest storms have silver linings. Granted Kentuckys lackluster 15-6 record isnt the equivalent of a hurricane or a tornado or even a nasty noreaster. But for Wildcat basketball fans less a year from their national championship celebration, third place in the SEC and needing a rally to even earn an invitation to the tournament is just as gray, damp, cold and miserable. So beating Texas A&M at home 7268 in overtime after the Aggies handed the Wildcats their biggest home loss in four years was a moral victory, some sweet revenge on a program that, by all rights, shouldnt be in Kentuckys league. Unfortunately for John Calipari and company, the win still wasnt pretty. The Aggies arent bad. At 13-8 and 3-5 in the SEC, they are a very respectable NIT contender. But this should have been a double-digit win for the Wildcats. Instead the game went to overtime even though the home team never led. Ever. Kentucky just couldnt put the Aggies away. Leading by four with only 25 seconds left the Wildcats gave up an easy jump shot to Fabyon Harris, and then turned the ball over on a tie-up. With two seconds remaining, Elston Turner, who led all scorers with 21 points, knocked down an eight-footer to send the game into overtime. From there Big Blue stiffened, opening up a six-point lead halfway through the extra period. But Turner hit one 3-pointer to make it a one-possession game, and had a second three rattle deep inside the rim before cruelly bounding out with only five seconds remaining. It was exciting, but not particularly well-played. Coach Cal has to be going nuts over the blown defensive assignments and costly late turnovers. He is a stickler when it comes to hustle and brains, two things this Wildcat squad has shown only in fits and starts. If there is a bright spot for Kentucky, it is the maturation of 6-foot-10 freshman Nerlens Noel, who has gone from an early underachiever to the most valuable asset in the Kentucky lineup and one of the best freshmen in the country. Noel ended the night in College Station with 19 points, 14 rebounds and two blocked shots, but his contribution and influence were much larger. His presence on the floor is beginning to dictate what kind of offense opposing teams can run, and he is forcing them to take shots they didnt really want. Averaging 4.7 blocked shots per game, Noel has come on strong in the last month. In his last five conference outings that average has jumped to 6.8 rejections, and his offensive numbers continue to climb as well. No one is comparing Noel to Anthony Davis, just as anyone who compares this Kentucky team to last years national champions will be sorely disappointed. But the development of Noel and the trajectory of the team as a whole are both positive. It could be too little too late, but those are the silver linings. For Kentucky fans at this stage, that will have to be enough.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Aaron Judge hits first grand slam of his career

David Stern: Lakers could have had Chris Paul, GM panicked

Brandon Jacobs vows to 'expose' Jim Harbugh, get him fired

Mike Zimmer won’t retire even if right eye goes blind

Kevin Love responds to Draymond Green’s ‘annihilation’ trash talk

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Spike Lee deletes Instagram post saying Kaepernick signed with Seattle

Errol Spence is the real deal, takes down Kell Brook

Indians reveal Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field

Report: Jerry West considered rejoining the Lakers before they hired Magic Johnson

The NHL is thinking about hosting an outdoor game in Nashville

Michael Vick in talks to retire with Falcons

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker