Kentucky came out ready to play. They smacked the Vols in the mouth from the start and never took their foot off the pedal. Once they got a double-digit lead in the first half, it was all but over.
This season is far from over. Kentucky might just be hitting their stride at the right time as evidenced by their shellacking of a top-25 team on the road this afternoon.
Next up, the Cats will return to Lexington to take on the Texas A&M Aggies on Tuesday night.
Mintz continues his hot shooting
Davion Mintz was absolutely lights out in the first half. He made his first five shots—all threes—on his way to 15 points. He slowed down tremendously in the second half, but his ability to fill it up at any given point is something that no one else on this team really brings to the table. Mintz can be inconsistent, but his leadership is second to none. If the Cats can bring him back for another season, that’d be huge moving forward.
Jackson is Kentucky’s best player
I love Mintz and I love Keion Brooks, but Isaiah Jackson is Kentucky’s best player. Everyone already knows how elite he is defensively, but his offense has come a very long way.
Scouts said Jackson could end up being the best big man in the entire 2020 recruiting class and I think he’s well on his way to proving that. His jump shot isn’t perfect, but it’s not bad and his free throw shooting is quite good.
Of course, he can throw down on just about anyone and his low post game is developing. The only thing he does that’s frustrating is foul and try to create, which usually leads to turnovers. But I think we all can deal with that given what Jackson provides on the court.
Cal has figured out his top guys
The playing time for a lot of guys is starting to shrink as Calipari has started to figure out who his best group of players are, while hopefully gearing up for the SEC Tournament.
The starting five is consistently Devin Askew, Mintz, BJ Boston, Jackson, and Olivier Sarr. Keion Brooks is the first off the bench, followed by Jacob Toppin. Then, Dontaie Allen gets spot minutes as his shooting has fallen off.
Lance Ware has seen less and less playing time as the month of February has gone on despite giving quality minutes early in the season. The point is Cal knows who his best guys are and he’s playing them accordingly.
Brooks provides quality minutes even when the shots aren’t falling
Keion Brooks, Jr. is a leader and that’s easy to see when you watch him play. The last two games the shots haven’t been falling, but he still provides excellent defense and rebounding.
Against the Vols, Brooks grabbed double-digit rebounds once again and his passing is really underrated. His double-double today was his second in the last few games. If KBJ comes back for a junior season, he could make a jump similar to PJ Washington did.
The Cats are playing some good basketball. Let’s hope it continues as March is quickly approaching