Week after week, Kentucky Wildcats basketball fans have been forced to ask themselves a difficult question — It can’t get any worse, can it?
Aside from their brief three-game win streak to start conference play, the answer has been a resounding yes. The Big Blue Nation now knows all too well that it can always get worse and the Cats’ 66-59 loss at Auburn on Saturday cemented that notion.
Now sitting at 4-8 on the season, it’s time to face the reality that UK receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament is unlikely, not impossible, but it will take a monumental effort in conference play to make it happen.
After watching Kentucky labor to score just 59 points, it’s difficult to imagine this team figuring out their offense fast enough to string together enough wins to work their way into the field of 64.
Will the Cats turn things around?
Kentucky vs. Georgia Wednesday, Jan 20th at 7:00 PM on the SEC Network.
Kentucky will at least get an extra day of practice in before taking on Tom Crean’s Bulldogs in Athens on Wednesday as opposed to playing in the regular Tuesday slot.
Georgia is lead in scoring by Sahvir Wheeler, K.D. Johnson and Toumani Camara, who are averaging over 45 points per game together. Justin Kier (10.8) and Tye Fagan (10.4) round out Georgia’s double-digit scorers per contest.
It’s fantastic news for Kentucky that Georgia is one of the worst teams in the conference. They just picked up their first SEC win on Saturday after defeating a mediocre Ole Miss team 78-74. UK desperately needs a win so seeing the Bulldogs next on the schedule should be a sigh of relief (maybe) for the Big Blue Nation.
Georgia’s best wins this season are against Ole Miss (60th in KenPom) and Cincinnati (80th). Those are the Dawgs’ line wins vs. KenPom top-100 teams.]
ESPN likes UK to handle their business.
Kentucky vs. LSU Saturday, January 23rd at 6:00 PM on ESPN
After the Bulldogs on Wednesday evening, the Cats will host Will Wade and the LSU Tigers.
Unlike Georgia, LSU is having a terrific season at 5-1 in conference play and 10-2 on the season.
They will have a tough matchup on Tuesday night against Alabama before traveling to Lexington. The winner of that game will take sole possession of first place in the SEC.
The Tigers have a pick-your-poison approach on offense considering they have three legitimate scoring threats. Cam Thomas leads the SEC in scoring at over 22 points per game while Trendon Watford and Javonte Smart each pour in over 15 points per game.
LSU doesn’t struggle to make shots like Kentucky does. Their 86 point-per-game average should terrify fans because they know all too well the likelihood that UK can keep pace with that type of offensive output.
John Calipari will have to rely on some form of defensive scheme to slow Will Wade’s squad down.
If there is one bright spot in UK’s horrific season it could be Isaiah Jackson’s conference-leading 3.1 blocks per game. Kentucky will have to protect the paint on Saturday if they have any hope of beating LSU.
ESPN acknowledges the up-hill battle for Coach Cal’s Cats.