The world isn't over. Kentucky Basketball will be just fine.

04/06/2015 08:46 PM

“That’s not the way it was supposed to end.”

“All the other wins now mean nothing.”

“This is the worst part of being an athlete.”

These were some of the comments made in a somber Kentucky locker room after the Wildcats’ heartbreaking loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four on Saturday.

After rewriting the record books with an unprecedented 38-0 start, UK wasn’t just chasing perfection; it was chasing destiny. Nothing but a 40-0 record and national-title ending would suffice.

But it just wasn’t meant to be.

What started as a dream ended as a nightmare.

Instead of being crowed an NCAA legend, the 2014-2015 Kentucky Wildcats will instead be remembered by history books as the great team that couldn’t win it all — the Charles Barkley, John Stockton, and Karl Malone of recent college hoops.

But despite the stumble, this is still Kentucky Basketball we’re talking about.

UK remains the premier program in the country with a Hall of Fame head coach and another top-ranked recruiting class on the way. Kentucky doesn’t rebuild; it reloads, and national title number nine could very well be right around the corner.

“Only” making the Final Four is nothing to turn your nose at, either. Just ask BYU, Xavier, and Gonzaga, teams that seemingly make the tournament every year but have never made a national semifinal — not a single one.

Before John Calipari arrived, it had been 13 long years since even the mighty University of Kentucky had gone to its last Final Four. Now the Cats have made it four of the last five seasons, including winning it all in 2012.

It’s an era of feast for UK, not one of famine.

Being short-sighted or a victim of the moment is an easy trap into which to fall after such an emotional loss — and Saturday’s defeat was a doozy. But after stepping back and taking a deep breath, it’s clear to see that despite this stumble, Kentucky Basketball will be just fine.

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