The Kentucky Wildcats marched in Tuscaloosa last night and came out with a massive win to boost their tournament resume.
Coleman Coliseum has been a nightmare for the Wildcats over the past few seasons, and really for any other visiting team. That was only the Crimson Tide’s third home loss in the past two seasons.
And Kentucky did it with their best player and National Player of the Year frontrunner Oscar Tshiebwe having what could be considered an “off night.”
Tshiebwe finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds, his fifth straight double-double, but did struggle offensively against the length of the Tide’s big men. Tshiebwe shot 4/13 from the field and missed some “gimmes” at the rim and also shot 2/4 from the free-throw line.
As a trio, TyTy Washington, Sahvir Wheeler and Tshiebwe all combined to shoot 10/32 from the field, with Wheeler scoring zero points, and still managed to beat Alabama in one of the toughest places to play. Alabama has beaten Baylor, Houston, LSU, and Tennessee in that same building this season, and beat Gonzaga on a neutral floor.
TyTy still managed to pour in 15 points to be the Cats’ leading scorer. In fact, Kentucky had five players score in double-figures in Tuscaloosa last night, including Daimion Collins, who added 10 points and six rebounds in just NINE minutes off the bench.
Davion Mintz, Lance Ware and Jacob Toppin also combined for 11 points, giving Kentucky 21 points off the bench in a game it needed every bit of with Tshiebwe struggling.
It was an ugly game, no one is disputing that. But ugly games are going to happen in the postseason, and you must find a way to win.
Kentucky showed it can win if its best player is having a bad game, which will likely happen at least once if these Wildcats do make a deep tournament run into the Final Four.