The Kentucky Wildcats continue to look better and better as they took down a hot shooting Alabama team 76-67 on Saturday.
The Wildcats shot the ball really well themselves, hitting 9/15 three point attempts. Before the season, John Calipari said this was one of his best shooting teams. It looks like the players are finally starting to prove him right.
Although Saturday’s win was impressive in its own way, it was not a big enough deal to move the detail for Kentucky in many of the latest polls. And they did not get any help as Kansas was really the only major team above them with a loss, and that was against a top five team in Baylor so the Jayhawks did not take a huge hit.
The latest AP Top 25 Poll has Kentucky checking in at No. 10, one spot ahead of Louisville. Gonzaga, Baylor, Duke, Auburn and Butler made up the top five.
The Wildcats stand pat this week at No. 14 in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 rankings. While they are certainly on a streak, Kentucky will be hard pressed to find a lot of signature victories in the SEC.
Kentucky did move up three spots to No. 26 in the NET Rankings, jumping ahead of Penn State, LSU, and Rutgers. The NET is the most important poll for tournament seeding purposes, so it is important that the Wildcats are trending in the right direction.
Kentucky now sits at No. 11 in the ESPN Power Rankings. That is up one spot from a week ago, as Ohio State fell completely out of the rankings after dropping four games in a row. ESPN’s Jeff Borzello had this to say about the Wildcats.
Kentucky is starting to look more and more like, “As Nick Richards and Immanuel Quickley go, so go the Wildcats.” Richards’ recent resurgence and dominance down low have been a huge boost for Kentucky’s half-court offense, while Quickley’s perimeter prowess is adding another dimension to the Wildcats’ offense. Both were evident on Saturday against Alabama, as Richards and Quickley had strong first halves to get the Wildcats out to a 10-point lead -- but when they slowed down, Kentucky went cold and Alabama came back. Quickley hit more big shots down the stretch, though. During Kentucky’s four-game winning streak, the sophomore guard is averaging 18.8 points while shooting 60.9% from 3-point range and 95.4% from the free throw line.
The Wildcats have a chance to make a real statement this week with road games at South Carolina and at Arkansas. The Gamecocks have won at Virginia, while the Hogs are on the verge of top-25 status, so this week will give us a good idea of just how much Kentucky has really improved.