For the third straight season the Kentucky Wildcats are headed back to the Sweet 16. The Cats defeated the Wofford Terriers 62-56 in a defensive masterpiece that left three point virtuoso Fletcher Magee 0-12 from behind the arch.
Offensively the Cats were disjointed at times, but there are no complaints from me about the defense. John Calipari had his team locked in on that side of the ball because he knew if they were going to win, they were going to have to keep Wofford away from the three point line and they did.
Tyler Herro played the defensive game of his life as he chased Magee and hounded him every possession. Herro had only 9 points but that’s understandable since he expended so much energy on defense.
Reid Travis was his steady self and gave the Cats exactly what they needed on offense. His 14 points and 10 rebounds were huge and his decision to transfer to Kentucky may be the biggest get for John Calipari in the last few seasons.
And what can we say about Jemarl Baker? The kid didn’t even see the floor against the Tennessee Volunteers yet he gets career high points in his first two NCAA Tournament games and yesterday against Wofford he hit three free throws that ended up turning the game around for Kentucky.
Keldon Johnson was off and harried with fouls so Cal had to play Baker for 18 minutes and the kid was fantastic.
Now, onto Kansas City where the Cats will face the Ohio State Buckeyes or the Houston Cougars.
Get ready for a week of PJ Washington cast talk.
Tweets of the Day
Still dancin’— Nick Richards (@iamnickrichards) March 24, 2019
While EJ Montgomery struggled Nick Richards was very good. He had some huge blocks and rebounds late in the second half.
Underrated thing about the way Tyler Herro/Kentucky defended Fletcher Magee today: did it a lot with OFFENSE. Made Magee chase all day, run through/around screens. Wore him out. "We put him through that meat grinder," Ashton Hagans said.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) March 23, 2019
Pardon my French, but they kicked his ass.
In games against UNC, Kansas and Kentucky, Fletcher Magee shot a combined 3-37 from three.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 23, 2019
It’s a lot easier to drain threes against mid-major competition. He’s no Steph Curry. At any level.
This is what it’s all about this time of the year. pic.twitter.com/68OwTR5BvK— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) March 24, 2019
PJ Washington coaching and cheering on his team. pic.twitter.com/P8LPu6e02N— Big Blue Express (@bigbluexpress) March 24, 2019
Get PJ back and these Cats are Final Four bound. I can feel it.
Tyler Herro wanted Magee | WDRB- Herro asked John Calipari for the assignment of stopping the elite three point shooter. Magee didn’t get anything clean in the first half, so when he did see a few open shots in the second half, they didn’t go down. Tyler Herro gets the defensive game ball.
Jemarl Baker plays X-Factor | Cats Pause- If you would have polled Kentucky fans before the game, I’m sure none of them would have had Jemarl Baker as the difference in beating Wofford and going home.
Ja Morant mum on NBA decision | ESPN- The Murray State Racers had their dance ticket ripped to shreds by the Florida State Seminoles. Ja Morant did all he could with 28 points. When asked about a certain NBA decision Morant decided to focus on his teammates. Class act.
Cats physically overwhelm the Terriers | Coach Cal- Wofford had fight left in them, and give them all the credit in the world for not letting UK extend the eight point lead in the second half, but you could tell they were flat out worn down at the end.
Kentucky dodges a bullet | USA Today- This is vitally important: “More importantly, Kentucky survived its first two NCAA tournament games without its leading scorer and rebounder, PJ Washington, who now gets a full week’s rest for a foot injury he’s been treating. Injuries can make really good No. 2 seeds like Kentucky lose to vastly underrated No. 7 seeds like the Terriers. But somehow, UK came out on top.”
Abbey Cheek breaks record | UK Athletics- Cheek hit her 49th career home run to break the record for most at UK. Unfortunately the day ended in a loss to Missouri.
Half of the Sweet Sixteen is set | CBS- The Cats were among eight teams that advanced to the third round. Michigan State, LSU, Gonzaga, Purdue, Florida State, Michigan, and Auburn all won. Auburn was the biggest surprise as they absolutely crushed Kansas from start to finish and prevented the Jayhawks from playing the next two rounds in front of a home crowd in Kansas City.
Best of the Tournament on Saturday | ESPN- Let’s not forget that Wofford was on a 21 game winning streak up until they faced UK yesterday afternoon.