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John Calipari gives an update on Adou Thiero and Big Z

Thiero is expected to play vs. Kansas.

Adou Thiero Isamu Haynes-Sunayama - A Sea Of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats are set for a Champions Classic showdown with the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks.

Unfortunately, Kentucky will do so with a depleted frontcourt, as Aaron Bradshaw and Ugonna Onyenso are still recovering from foot surgery, while Zvonimir Ivisic is still awaiting clearance from the NCAA.

Thankfully, Kentucky will have Adou Thiero on Tuesday after he missed the win over Texas A&M Commerce due to a concussion.

During his Monday meeting with local media, John Calipari said he expects Thiero to play vs. Kansas.

Calipari also said Big Z ‘could’ play Tuesday if the NCAA clears him by then, even if the odds of that happening appear low. The NCAA typically makes decisions within a 45-day span. Z arrived to UK’s campus on October 12th, so in theory, we could be another two weeks until a decision is made.

In Thiero’s 2023-24 debut vs. New Mexico State, he had five points (1/3 shooting and 3/5 on free throws), seven rebounds, and one block in 20 minutes of action as the starting 4 before leaving the game.

Assuming Z isn’t cleared in time to play Tuesday, having Thiero back is a must for Kentucky to have any hope of not letting Kansas dominate the paint. The only true big man on the roster who can play currently is Tre Mitchell. Justin Edwards has played some 4, while Jordan Burks has played at the 4 and the 5, though both of those guys are more small forwards.

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