COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Maybe it's just the dreaded January slump.
Tuesday night in Rupp Arena you could explain Ole Miss taking No. 1-ranked Kentucky to overtime as the stars and the moon aligning at the right time to cause the underdog Rebels to play out of their minds.
Saturday afternoon in Reed Arena was not like that at all. Host Texas A&M played with determination, but it didn't shoot particularly well, missed nearly half its free throws and yet still managed to push the nation's top-ranked team into double overtime before losing 70-64.
Did we mention the Aggies were without their best player, Jalen Jones, who missed his second straight game because of an ankle injury?
Did we mention the Aggies lost by 21 points Tuesday at Alabama?
"We're just not a very good team right now," John Calipari said.
"They're a very good team," A&M coach and Calipari friend Billy Kennedy said with a bit of a grin when informed of Calipari's comment.
Of course Kentucky is a very good team, but since the calendar flipped to 2015 it has not looked like a very good team.
Two SEC games, three overtime sessions. Two SEC games, two escapes. Had Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody not cramped up in overtime Tuesday and had A&M made just a couple more free throws Saturday (it was 16-for-30 from the line), the team many think could go unbeaten would instead be sitting 0-2 in the SEC right now.
It makes you wonder if the Cats are taking conference play seriously — or seriously enough. Calipari's club hasn't responded with its previous intensity.
That was certainly the case Saturday. Texas A&M led 9-0 out of the gate. Kentucky shot 30 percent in the first half, 28 percent for the game. It won the boards by one rebound.
The real stunner was points in the paint: Texas A&M 38, Kentucky 14.
Did we mention this is the same Kentucky team purported to boast the most combined height of any basketball team this side of the Portland Trail Blazers?
The Aggies played a physical style, getting their bodies into the bigger Cats to establish better position for buckets and rebounds. Not until the second overtime did UK really respond.
In fact, you could make the case that while a large contingent of the Big Blue Nation showed up early at Reed Arena to see their beloved Cats, the team didn't really show up until the end.
"We didn't play with enough energy," said freshman Trey Lyles.
Why not? Wasn't the close shave against Ole Miss a preview of what lies ahead in SEC play? Haven't the Cats heard from their head coach about being everybody's Super Bowl?
Didn't they realize other conference teams might not take too kindly to being perceived as the bug to Kentucky's windshield?
"Totally," said A&M's Danuel House, who led all scorers with 25 points, when asked if the Aggies took offense to the Kentucky conference cakewalk talk. "It was a slap in the face."
"They're not machines," Calipari said Saturday. "We were just trying to escape, to be honest."
Big picture time: Is this off week a cause for alarm?
Not really. Every team has its ups and downs. And as Kennedy pointed out, Calipari has so many weapons, if one is misfiring, another hits — looking at you Devin Booker and (late) Trey Lyles.
"Andrew is hurt, he's trying to play through it," said Calipari, adding that point guard Andrew Harrison has a hip injury. "He didn't play particularly well, but other guys didn't either."
He also 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."
Any wrinkles should be ironed out by February and March, but as far as not being too good too soon, the head coach is getting his wish.