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Sunday Quickies: On to SEC Play Edition

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The Cats picked up a momentum-building win yesterday heading into conference play

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

This Kentucky team has had its struggles this year, and yesterday’s 78-70 win over the third-ranked Louisville Cardinals didn’t eliminate this team’s weaknesses, but the Wildcats desperately needed a jolt of momentum. They got that yesterday, and now the Cats head into SEC play with a 9-3 record.

Kentucky still has some offensive struggles and certain players need to pick up their performances but yesterday’s victory has the potential to serve as a turning point for this team. Tyrese Maxey showed he has the ability to be a superstar like we witnessed against Michigan State, Immanuel Quickley and Ashton Hagans played well, and Nick Richards put together arguably his best performance of the season even though he’s had better numbers in other box scores.

As the Cats head into SEC play, they’re likely the second-favorite behind the undefeated Auburn Tigers. The Arkansas Razorbacks are near the top of the SEC standings in non-conference play behind a 10-1 record, but the Razorbacks have yet to face a top-25 team.

Kentucky travels to Arkansas on January 18 for a showdown at Bud Walton Arena, and the Cats will have two matchups with Auburn, one on the road on February 1 and a matchup in Lexington on February 29.

If we’ve learned anything about SEC Basketball in the Calipari era, it’s that Kentucky isn’t safe from any team on their conference schedule. Road environments amp up even more when Kentucky comes to town, and teams play above and beyond their typical performances when the team from Lexington comes in.

The Cats open conference play next Saturday when they host Missouri before hitting the road to Athens for a date with Georgia and likely top 5 pick Anthony Edwards and then a home game against Alabama.

Kentucky has had its share of struggles, but should still be in contention for the SEC Championship once again.

Tweet of the Day

This picture of Cal was all of us when Hagans dunked at the end.

Quickies

Kentucky picks right time to show its potential - ESPN

The Cats showed how much of a threat they can be.

Cats refocused in OT despite near buzzer-beater - Herald Leader

It would’ve been easy to fall apart in OT, but the Cats showed a lot of resolve.

Takeaways from Kentucky’s win - KSR

Maxey shined, Quickley was clutch, and Richards was key to the victory.

Kentucky’s season hinged on beating Louisville - Cats Pause

The Cats needed that win in many ways.

LSU an early 5-point favorite over Clemson - ESPN

Too high, too low, or just right?

Amid tragedy, LSU puts up historic performance - Bleacher Report

An incredibly tragic story.

Controversial replay overturns key Ohio State touchdown - Yahoo

A tough call that very well changed the game.

Jaguars to fire Marrone after game today - Yahoo

Why would you tell a coach he’ll be fired after the game? I’d go crazy today if I was Marrone.