Ugly Christmas Sweaters are common sights this time of year. This unique look in fashion made their popular appearance in the 50s.
First known as “Jingle Bell Sweaters,” they featured discrete Christmas themed decorations. The original ugly Christmas sweaters were never intended to be “ugly.” They were actually pretty artistic and joyful.
But the idea caught on, and it wasn’t long until Christmas parties began to feature Ugly Christmas Sweaters. And when the contest was done, the winner got the prize, but to get it, well… it was a bit ugly.
Why does that matter and what does it have to do with Kentucky basketball? Great question – to be honest, it appeared that the game against Southern at Rupp Arena resembled an Ugly Sweater Basketball Game.
Kentucky legend and Unforgettable great Sean Woods brought his Southern Jaguars into Kentucky and managed to make the Cats look uncomfortable, at times out of sync, and at other times frustrated. It wasn’t intended to be ugly, but that is how it turned out. The game was ugly but still fun to watch – like an Ugly Sweater Party.
How ugly was it? John Calipari summed it up this way. “Thank goodness we won because they played harder than us.” But it gets uglier, Cal also added, “Sean did a better job coaching than I did.” And the ugly rolled on – “They out-hustled us,” the Kentucky coach added. “They outplayed us. We couldn’t stay in front of them. They crowded the court and stayed in front of us. We had to then go back and crowd the court, and it shortens the game when you do that.” And in the summation of a game that the Cats won but in the ugliest possible way – “We had some guys not play well.”
There are going to be Ugly Sweater Nights, especially before Christmas and this one was Kentucky’s. But in the best party tradition, the winner gets the prize and gets it in spite of the ugliness. There are nights that you have to be able to win when things are not going well.
If you can remember back to the previous edition of Wildcat basketball from a year ago, that rarely happened. When things didn’t go well, it was a disaster.
This team is built different. There is a depth to this bunch that allows them to find the right combination at the right time.
And like any Ugly Sweater Party worth going to, you are supposed to have fun. This team is having fun, and the win streak they are on has helped. Things get tougher as the month goes by, but the lessons learned and the way they have played this far into the season, it gives us a lot of promise as the team continues to come together.
Sean Woods and his team had a good time at the party as well. They stunned the Cats from the opening tip and kept the pace of the game away from the way the Wildcats like to play.
The win streak in Rupp finds the Cats as the best in the nation in rebounding margin. They have a plus 19 boards per game average for the season and continue to own the inside.
Oscar Tshiebwe is the leading rebounder in the country and has had seven double doubles so far this season. His veteran presence has established himself as a fixture for the future of this year’s team.
TyTy Washington continues to flourish and has seven double doubles as well on the year. Sahvir Wheeler is one of the top assist leaders in the country.
Daimion Collins continues to improve and has been sparking the Wildcats by taking some of the workload in the middle which makes Tshiebwe even more frightening.
And although there have been some weeks where the team has been missing players, with the return of Davion Mintz, the team is close to being the full roster of the team we will see throughout the rest of the season.
So the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party is over. It was fun and it was ugly.
Now, it’s time to get ready for the next challenge, and it happens quickly.