The Kentucky Wildcats basketball team started off their first of two exhibition games this season with a bang, as they cruised to a 95-72 win over the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers.
As the Big Blue Nation is accustomed to, fans had to get a feel for how this team of all new faces would gel through their first 40 minutes against another opponent. Luckily with nine upperclassmen on this year's roster, John Calipari has the most experience he has had during his time in Lexington, and it showed early on both ends of the floor.
The first half gave fans one of the best look they will get in regards to rotations and lineups that Coach Cal will mostly likely use in 11 days when they play Duke, but KWC didn't give the Cats anything easily.
Keion Brooks Jr. and Davion Mintz picked up right where they left off last season as they led the way offensively. It was also very obvious that once this team meshes together more over the coming months, they have the size, speed and athleticism to be great defensively, though they’re clearly a bit away from that.
In terms of the second half, the big takeaway is comfort. After shaking off the nerves during the first 20-minutes, the team settled in and played their game as they pulled away from the Panthers.
Overall, there was a lot to like from the first game of the season.
Fans got to finally see this new pace-and-space offense the team will run this season, as well as continue to see the early foundation of what’s being built on defense.
Clean up some of the unforced turnovers in the open floor, learn to be more discipline on defense, continue to take strides on implementing this new offense, and Nov. 9th in Madison Square Garden should be a fun battle against the Blue Devils.
There are several players who could win this award for the night, but TyTy Washington shined and showed just how legit he is.
The freshman guard is going to be a major factor on this team offensively. He was able to knock down several threes from all areas of the floor, fill the gaps in transition, and show the ability to push the ball up the floor and distribute.
If he can continue to play solid defense and continue to make the right pass as he did tonight, you better enjoy this season folks because this will be the only one we get.
We also need to give a shout-out to Keion Brooks, as he looked as if this might be the breakout season everyone was hoping for.