The Kentucky Wildcats have been on quite a roll lately winning their last four straight. The streak started when the Cats were at their lowest point of the season. They had reached, as John Calipari likes to say, a crisis point before turning things around with an unlikely win at then fifth ranked Tennessee. Since that win, the Cats have taken care of Georgia, beat a good Texas A&M team by nine points at home, and they blew out Vanderbilt on the road.
The momentum has a chance to continue as the ninth ranked Kansas Jayhawks are in town for the Big 12 vs. SEC challenge. This will be another chance at a Quad I win for Kentucky and they need to start piling them up the way they have Quad II wins.
Kansas is flailing at the moment as they have lost three conference games, something that is unheard of for Bill Self and his team. Kansas is at their own crisis point and they are viewing this game the way that Kentucky viewed Tennessee: a chance to get right and prove we are back on track. The Jayhawks were once in the running for the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament and have dropped to the 2 seed line.
The advantage that Kentucky has over Kansas is all about size and rebounding. The Jayhawks rarely play anyone over 6’8 and they are one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the country. They’re not a physical team and they do not have a deep bench. For them to win, they have to make shots at a super high clip and run the Cats at a pace that doesn’t allow for them to get into halfcourt sets.
This should be a feast day for Jacob Toppin and most certainly Oscar Tshiebwe. Both players should have double digit rebounds and Oscar should be flirting with 20 and 20 tonight.
The atmosphere will be electric, a scene that we haven’t witnessed in Rupp Arena this season. I can’t wait.
Tweets of the Day
Nick Saban got along with Lane Kiffin for the most part so why not Todd Grantham too?
GAME DAY. GO BIG BLUE.— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 28, 2023
Win this game and we can start having discussions about seed line.
Bill Self knows he will be facing a new Kentucky team | Vaught’s Views- The offense is the story that people are most talking about but the Cats have been playing smothering defense ever since the Tennessee game. It starts there.
Know your opponent: Kansas Jayhawks | Cats Pause- Jalen Wilson and Grady Dick are the main weapons for the Jayhawks. Both are forwards that will be tough for the Cats to guard.
Big Blue Preview | UK Athletics- The game day atmosphere at Rupp Arena will be the best it has been since Tennessee came to town and got drubbed last season. These types of environments are too far in between.
Cason Wallace discusses the challenges of playing Kansas | KSR- Bill Self’s Triangle and 2 defense has been a point of emphasis at practice this week for the Cats.
Predicting 20 surprise teams in 2023 | SDS- Kentucky’s 2022 season was a major letdown but with the return of Liam Coen and the addition of Devin Leary, the 2023 Cats are looking to be the surprise of the SEC. This is when Stoops seems to be at his best as a coach compared to when there are big expectations at the national level.
Devin Leary’s Heisman odds | Draft Kings- Leary is +8000 to win the trophy presented to the best quarterback. (yes I know it’s not just a quarterback trophy, it was a joke)
Experts pick the Big 12 vs. SEC Challenge | CBS- Not quite a split decision in favor of Kansas as the Cats are favored -1.
NFL Playoff picks and predictions | Sporting News- I was four for four last week so I’ll try this again: Chiefs clip Bengals and Niners upend Philly on the road. I don’t feel good about my NFC pick but Brock Purdy seems to be the QB of destiny this season.
The story behind Ed Reed’s short tenure as the had coach at Bethune-Cookman | SI.com- It seems like Bethune-Cookman made the decision based on Deion Sanders building up Jackson State and then bolting for Colorado as soon as he got the chance at a Power Five job. A head scratching move that left the players disappointed that they didn’t get to play for an NFL great and left Ed Reed stunned.
Catch me on the KY Fish and Wildlife UK Postgame Show over on ESPN 680/105.7 at around 10:00 PM tonight. I’ll break down the game, take calls and texts, and hopefully have John Calipari’s press conference in full!