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Kentucky Wildcats 74, Mississippi State Bulldogs 56: Instant Impressions of a Historic Victory

Kentucky now has the longest in-season winning streak in Wildcats history, and they got it on the road.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

For a while, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, the Kentucky Wildcats looked very much like the pejorative "mildcats" that some UK opponents lob out. But late in the second half, the Wildcats woke up, assessed the 4-point lead, and found it unacceptable. They then exploded in front of the Humphrey Coliseum fans, showing them why Kentucky is the #1 team in the nation.

Mississippi State did exactly what I told you they would do — attack the rim and get to the line. They did that, getting 27 free throw attempts. Unfortunately for them, they made only 59%, and against Kentucky, you’d better make every one of your unguarded chances, because there just won’t be that many. The Bulldogs played hard, and played better than some against UK, but in the end, they met the same fate as the 27 previous Kentucky foes.

Final stats


  • Kentucky did not play their best basketball tonight, although they did shoot the ball reasonably well. Efficiency should be in the average range for this team, around 1.2 points per possession.

  • Offensive rebounding could’ve been better. MSU is a small team, but to their credit, they do a decent job blocking out.

  • Kentucky has to learn how to stop penetration without fouling. Mississippi State is not good enough to make that many forays into the lane and come away with baskets or fouls. I could not be less happy with the paint defense tonight for most of the game.

  • Kentucky did a decent job with turnovers, but they only forced 8 from MSU, a team that routinely turns the ball over 20%+ of the time.

  • Kentucky was able to find intensity tonight when they lacked it — it’s the old golf adage that if you didn’t bring it with you, you won’t find it on the course.

    It’s really pretty rare for college basketball teams to be able to change speeds like that, and it’s normally only found in teams good enough to win it all. I’d rather never see that, but now that I have, I guess it’s somewhat praiseworthy. Let’s hope we don’t have to count on it again.

  • 3-point shooting was excellent. So was free throw shooting.

  • Nine blocks, and some of them were … impressive.

Well, that’s all I have for now. You can check the stats and the goings-on on Twitter, I’ve got to get food in my belly before I become impossible to live with. We’ll have much more tomorrow in the postmortem, but this was yet another dominant win in what has become a string of dominant wins. But we cannot bring this game to Rupp Arena on Saturday against the Arkansas Razorbacks, it just might not be good enough.