The SEC has had a heck of a year, ya'all. Fully 50% of the Conference had their tickets punched to attend the Big Dance in 2015, with seeds ranging from #1 (South Carolina) to #11 (LSU). Take a moment to relish this fact so you can truly grasp the battle UK faced in getting to this stage. Bruised, broken and strained, the Cats hurled themselves across the finish line of the regular season with the incredible determination we've come to expect from this squad.
And now the real fun begins!
Let's put aside the fact that we're in UConn's bracket for the 2,986,312th time in program history. (Ok, maybe only the 8th but it feels like 2.9 million times.) For whatever reason, the committee saw fit to reward the Cats with another potential tango with the Demons of Storrs. Embrace your rage and move on, because we have a WHOLE lot of games to go before we have to worry about Geno and his Gigantic Gals.
First up, we have some feline on feline crime a-brewin' when the Cats host the TSU Tigers Friday at 2:30 PM on ESPN2. We've tangled with this squad before, struggling to pull out an 87-75 win back on December 28th. In that matchup, Alexis Jennings had one of her best games of the year, delivering 27 points and 8 rebounds. Despite getting outplayed in every single offensive stat, the Cats' defense was the other star of the game as UK won the turnover battle (16 to 29) while showing off their excellent pickpocket skills with 17 steals. Tenacious and unyielding defense secured a game when our offense was noticeably hungover from Christmas break.
But that was a different team to what we have now. Janee Thompson played in that game. Bria Goss and Jelleah Sidney did not. Makayla Epps was not running the point. Comparing that game to current state is almost impossible, aside from saying "Maybe we actually hit some baskets this time?"
TSU is coming in fresh from a historic OVC Championship win against UT-Martin, their first in 20 years. They're going to be pumped. The Cats are coming in from a tough semi-final loss against Tennessee. They're going to be equally pumped to show us what they can do with a week of rest. (Hopefully they spent a lot of time in ice-baths.) What happens next is anyone's guess, but I think the Cats get a hard fought victory.
From there, we'll face the winner of Dayton/Iowa State on Sunday at 1:30 on ESPN2. Based on how the Big XII performed Thursday (thanks for killing my Southern Bracket, ISU men!) it will be interesting to watch how that game shapes up.
Please feel free to use this as your open thread for all your fun Friday viewing. Unfortunately I cannot participate as my employers are oddly demanding of my attention during work hours, but am looking forward to catching up with the Cats and all of their ASoB fans later in the day.
Until gametime, Cat Fans - GO BIG BLUE!