It’s an unusual thing to go undefeated in conference play, and yet the Kentucky Wildcats accomplished that milestone again on Sunday with a 74-59 win at Florida. Not only did UK complete the SEC season at 16-0, they also moved to 30-1 overall, the first time in school history that the Wildcats have recorded 30 regular season victories.
The win was a total team effort, but it wasn’t as easy as the margin of victory might suggest. Florida’s last lead came with about 14 minutes left in the first half, but the Gators battled back from 16 down with 4:03 in the first half to get as close as four points on three different occasions in the second half. Leading just 59-55 with 8:36 to play, a layup by Anthony Davis sparked a 15-4 run over the game’s final minutes to allow the Cats to ease out to win.
Anthony Davis had another phenomenal game and probably cemented his Player of the Year candidacy in the minds of many voters with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and six blocks. Terrence Jones had another stellar performance in scoring the first eight points for UK en route to 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals and an assist. Marquis Teague was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 12 points to go along with 4 assists and just one turnover in 33 minutes.
Kentucky shot 52.5% from the field and, more impressively, had just six turnovers which I believe is an aspect of this Kentucky team that isn’t talked about much. Simply put, this team takes care of the basketball.
That wasn’t always the case, especially early in the year. Teague was a turnover machine early on, and the Cats averaged nearly 15 turnovers a game in their first 10 games. What a difference experience makes, though-in SEC play, UK has averaged just 9.4 turnovers per game, and in their last four games, which included road trips to Mississippi State and Florida as well as a return game with Vanderbilt, Kentucky has averaged only 8 turnovers per game while forcing over 10 per game by their opponents.
The words to describe this Kentucky team are hard to come by, and it’s a little hard to keep in perspective. While the goal at UK is to win a national title every year, it is also wise to remember what this team has accomplished even if they don’t win #8.
This has been perhaps the best regular season in the history of Kentucky basketball, a fact that shouldn’t be lost on UK fans. A three-pointer at the buzzer is the only thing standing in the way of perfection. This team is, in my opinion, the best team in the nation, but even so, Las Vegas has the NCAA tournament favorites no better than a 9-5 favorite to win the title, and that’s for a reason-it’s the hardest title to win.
Matchups are key to a March run, and there are very few teams that UK doesn’t match up well against. Frankly, I don’t think Syracuse is the team I fear the most-North Carolina is, and they confirmed that with the ass-whipping they handed Duke on Saturday night. Another team that presents problems is Indiana-I know I sure don’t want them as UK’s four seed.
With that said, however, I am picking UK to win the national championship. First up, however, is the SEC tournament. We will preview that tomorrow here on the Big Blue Lowdown.
Go Cats!go back