The Kentucky Wildcats are coming off their biggest win of the season and almost have their entire roster back. They are only currently missing Zvonimir Ivisic, as the NCAA hasn’t ruled on his eligibility yet.
With Kentucky now having Aaron Bradshaw and Ugonna Onyenso back and fully healthy, many fans were worried that the offense would slow down with John Calipari wanting to play two big men at the same time.
Calipari did not slow things down vs. the North Carolina Tar Heels, which Kentucky won thanks in part to its high-paced offense.
After the game, Calipari made it clear he won’t be slowing things down for a Kentucky team among the nation’s best in pace.
“You know what’s amazing? We added a big guy, and everyone thought we were gonna walk it up the court. I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ Like no, this is who we are,” said Calipari during postgame interviews.
John Calipari quickly dismisses any thoughts that Kentucky would slow it down by adding their bigs.— Tristan Pharis (@TristanUda) December 17, 2023
"We add a big guy and everyone thought we were gonna walk it up the court. I'm like 'What are you talking about?' Like no, this is who we are."
(Video via UK Athletics) pic.twitter.com/GTfv4GBm89
In the 87-83 win against North Carolina, the Cats had a total of 80 possessions. So far this season, they’re ranked No. 22 in adjusted tempo, according to KenPom.
The only other Power Five schools ranked higher than Kentucky in tempo are the Arizona Wildcats, who come in at No. 6, and the Florida Gators at No. 17.
Through the first 10 games of the season, Kentucky has shown it isn’t afraid to play fast. It showed during their first big-time game of the year against the then No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks, And since that game, the Wildcats haven’t slowed down, even with the big men back.
Let’s hope that continues, because, simply put, this Kentucky Basketball team is fun to watch. That’s a statement we haven’t been able to say enough in recent years, but we can say it right now.