The Second Season has arrived.
Here is some great news for the Big Blue Nation – the University of Kentucky is undefeated in 2021.
Now, that may sound like a piece of news that is not a big deal, but after the dismal record of 1-6 that our basketball team limped out of 2020 with, the final score of 78-73 over Mississippi State was a welcomed refreshing way to start the new year. The double overtime victory featured a lot of moments worth remembering.
John Calipari decided to put back on a suit coat for the game and was ejected after receiving two technical fouls. The Wildcats played more zone defense than normal and it seemed to work. Although the Cats squandered a lead they showed grit and muscle down the stretch and never quit during the double overtime battle.
The biggest story of the day was the emergence of Mr. Basketball as Kentucky native Dontaie Allen exploded for 23 points, 20 of which came after halftime. Allen played 33 minutes, hit seven of 11 three-pointers, added five rebounds, and a block. He had help from Olivier Sarr who added a big double-double with 14 points and 12 boards, along with two blocks and a steal.
As Coach Cal summarized in his press conference, “something good needed to happen for these guys.” It is always good to win on the road in the Southeastern Conference and a win is a win, and the Wildcats will not only take it but they desperately needed it.
As 2021 begins we now enter basketball’s second season.
The first season was loaded up with games that can best be thought of as preseason games. They featured some ranked opponents, some blue blood rivals, and a few games that were surprising at best. The end of the preseason found the team with 1 win and 6 losses, some of the losses were close and tough to watch, but it will not go down as the best early season in UK history.
Although the national pollsters have forgotten about the Cats, we now are in the second season. The second season is conference play. Currently we are undefeated in the conference. Granted it is only one game, but as stated earlier, when you need a win, you take it when you can. Playing on the road in the SEC is never easy, so each win is a much needed victory as you are building toward the third season. Because of the poor showing in the first season, these conference games matter more than ever. The grinding schedule in the days ahead will give the team a chance to show that the lessons learned in the first season were not wasted. The true test of this team is still looming and we will get the chance to see how great they might be.
The third season is still a few weeks away. That of course is the post season. How well the Wildcats play during the second season will determine how deep they have the chance of going in the third season… but for now, let’s just celebrate the start of conference play and enjoy the win. After 2020 it is nice to be able to say that in 2021 we are undefeated and undefeated in the SEC. With Vanderbilt and Florida waiting this week, we will see if we can make the same declaration after next weekend.