College Basketball

Could Kentucky be better than advertised?



Photo: SEC Nation

It’s not often times you find those within the college basketball world seeing Kentucky as a potential underdog. More often than not, John Calipari is able to score those one and done’s that propel the Wildcats to the top of the National rankings during the regular season and certainly one of the handful of teams to watch out for once Tournament time comes around.

This year however seems different.

Sure, Kentucky will competitive, they always are. However it seems like it’s few and far between that the Wildcats are struggling against opponents they should be running out of the gym. That or putting merit in moral victories rather than actual ones.

Unfortunately for Kentucky fans that’s been the case.

In their first game of the season against Utah Valley, the Wildcats had trouble finding a grove on both ends of the court and found themselves trailing 35-25 at the half. Eventually Calipari’s young squad pulled themselves together to hang 48 on the Wolverines of UV in the second to earn themselves a 73-63 victory.

Two night’s later, Kentucky got off to a better start against Vermont but had trouble finishing off the Catamounts in the second half who put together a bit of a comeback before making the Wildcats sweat out a 73-69 win.

And that moral victory? A 65-61 win over Kansas.

However we shouldn’t discredit that particular moral victory against the Jayhawks too much.

First Kansas is a top five team in the Country and the young Wildcats went toe-to-toe with a squad who could very well find themselves playing for a National Title come next April. Baskets were traded along with the lead and in the end it was the more experiences Jayhawks who prevailed. However what may have been almost as important as a win over a team like Kansas is what transpired when it came to figuring out what the Wildcats are ultimately comprised of as a squad going forward.

Was this the coming out party for Kevin Knox as a finisher for the Wildcats?

After struggling the first two games of the season, Knox led Kentucky with 20 points against Kansas while showcasing a perimeter game that may be ahead of schedule. Knox followed up his strong performance against the Jayhawks with another solid outing against East Tennessee State netting 17 and 10 while earning his first double-double of the season. Although it wasn’t all rosy for the Wildcat freshmen who had trouble turning over the ball (22 turnovers in total) and once again found themselves in a large deficit they had to overcome, 18-8 to be exact.

But given what has transpired over these last two games, the impressive outing against Kansas and Kevin Knox appearing to be that go-to-guy for the Wildcats, could Kentucky find their odds for a National Title go up as the season progresses? Likewise are the Wildcats better than advertised despite Calipari’s young squad?

That certainly could be the case however we’ll have to at the very least continue to see how Kentucky handles their non-conference leading up to SEC play. And obviously when you’re dealing with a young team, the season could as easily go north as it could go south. However with Calipari, Knox perhaps coming into his own as we continue to go forward and Kentucky perhaps continuing to dominate the glass on both ends of the court, big things in Lextington have the potential of coming to fruition.

About Adam Hernandez

Adam Hernandez is the founder The Majors Sports Network.

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