Kentucky takes the court today and sets a new record for the program. This is UK’s fourth straight tournament appearance. That adds to their highest seed ever in the tournament, and they are expecting to push it all the way to New Orleans. The first stop, Queens, NY and a date with the Navy Midshipwomen (Is that correct? Someone ask Glenn). St. John’s arena will be the first place (and hopefully not the last) where UK will be playing on a court far away from home.
The Women’s Tournament has far different rules for their sites to play in each year. To me this is the most flawed system in existence today, even worse than the NIT’s system of going to the other team’s home site when the host team’s site is not available. The lower seeds get the privilege of playing at home in the current system, unless you are a #1 seed. It is so asinine it defies logic. While the NCAA is reforming everything else wrong with it’s antiquated rulebook and guidelines, someone work on this seeding nonsense for the women, willya?
UK as a #2 Seed will be in a pod with Navy (#15), Dayton (#7), and St. Johns (#10). Kentucky will be heavily favored against Navy, and with good reason. UK has never lost to a team from the Patriot League, and with the UK men no longer in post season play, you can expect a huge Big Blue presence in Queens for the game. It also won’t hurt that Jennifer O’ Neill and Jelleah Sidney will be playing in their home neighborhoods.
Look for UK to do exactly what they know how to do. They are going to press Navy until their brass falls off. A’Dia Mathies knows this is her last NCAA Tournament. She knows this is her last chance to improve her draft status. She knows this is her last shot at an NCAA title. Mathies will come up huge in this game. I expect her to come up huge in this tournament.
Navy is a very young team. They have no seniors on their roster. They are led in scoring and minutes by Jade Geif, a PF with an eye for the basket. She has scored in every game for Navy, and hits on 54% from the floor. Yes, that is correct, 54% She also never shoots the 3, and only shoots 55% from the line.
Navy’s biggest handicap will be that they have never played a ranked team all season. They have also never seen the defense that UK is about to take into the Big Apple. This should be a pounding by UK.
Kentucky by 15.