Hello to everyone at the Big Blue Lowdown. Let me start with saying that I am excited to be a member of this community and look forward to sharing my thoughts, concerns, joys, and (worthless?) opinion on UK basketball this season.
I got this gig by answering a classified ad posted by Joey, and hope to bring a unique perspective to the site. I grew up in southern Indiana, right across from Louisville, and was the lone UK fan in my family surrounded by those filthy Card's fans. My brother and I argued about basketball as kids, he from a UL perspective and me, with my blood blue.
My love for basketball grew in some of the best years for college basketball in the Kentucky/Louisville area. Starting with UK's championship in 1978, the years from 1978 to 1986 saw UK, Indiana, and Louisville win five national titles with an additional Final Four appearance by the Wildcats in 1984. I'll never forget that horrible shooting night in Seattle because I was convinced Sam Bowie and Melvin Turpin would bring home yet another title.
After getting out of the military, I was attending school at UK when Rick Pitino led the Wildcats to the 1996 title and then lived in the Lexington area when they nearly repeated in 1997 and won it all in 1998.
I say all that to let you know that, even though I now live in Dayton, Ohio, my Blue blood runs deep, and I am about as excited about the upcoming season as I have been any season in recent memory.
This collection of Wildcats is probably the most talented bunch ever assembled on a single UK team, although one could put the 1996 team a close second. With the returning experience and heralded freshmen, it's hard to see what this team lacks. They should shoot the ball well, have plenty of size underneath, and, according to Coach Cal, are probably the quickest team he has ever coached. The ingredients are there for the Wildcats to make a serious push for their eighth national title.
I've heard some grumblings in Big Blue Nation about the Cats being ranked second behind Roy William's North Carolina Tarheels, but in reality that doesn't really matter. It appears that Kentucky and North Carolina are probably 1 and 1a with a significant gap between them and the rest of the field. Besides, a showdown in Lexington on December 3 will almost certainly see both teams come in undefeated so a true number one will be determined then.
In the SEC, I expect the Cats to win the Eastern Division with a 14-2 record with a chance to go 15-1 or 16-0. Vanderbilt looks to be the next best team in the league, but don't laugh-the Commodores are a legitimate threat to beat the Wildcats, especially in the zoo they call Memorial Gymnasium.
Even still, look for the Wildcats to enter the SEC tournament with two or three losses at most and heavily favored to win the title and claim a top seed in the NCAA tourney.
Enjoy the ride-it should be a fun year!go back