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The best 8-man rotation moving forward

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It’s becoming clear that Kentucky may be better off trimming its rotation as the schedule gets tougher.

Nick Richards Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats are still searching for themselves.

After the blowout loss to Duke, Kentucky has struggled to find any real consistency in the cupcake portion of their schedule. Against the weakest teams Kentucky will face this year, they’ve struggled to pull away and finish games.

Part of that has been due to the lack of defense, but a few guys in the rotation have also hurt this team when inserted.

I would say that unless something definitively changes, you will see the following rotation being used by Coach Cal:

At the guard spot, Quade Green and Immanuel Quickley will get the bulk of the minutes. Tyler Herro will be the primary backup to Green and Quickley, with Hagans providing some extended depth.

On the wings, it really comes down to PJ Washington and Keldon Johnson. Of course, Herro can play as a wing in a “small” lineup, and even Quickley if need be.

In the post, this is Reid Travis’ team. He’s been consistent, he’s experienced, and he’s proven at this level. EJ Montgomery should be the #2 post player, with Nick Richards last in line.

Now, if Calipari wants to go with a “big” lineup, then that should be Reid Travis together with Montgomery and/or PJ Washington. I just don’t see UK having success playing Travis and Richards together.

So as the season progresses and playing time dwindles for some, Calipari will solidify a consistent rotation. He’ll likely start Quade, Quickley, Keldon, PJ and Travis moving forward. Hagans, Herro and EJ Montgomery will make this a consistent 8-man rotation. Beyond that, I don’t see much consistency.

Of course, Nick Richards will get playing time - he’ll be the 9th man though and I think you’ll see him potentially turn into a Sacha Killeya-Jones type of role. We’re already seeing this play out, as Richards has averaged just 11.5 minutes per game over the last four contests. He’s clearly not where he needs to be, especially compared to what Montgomery, Washington and Travis are bringing to the table.