Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Don’t Give Up on the Cats. Plus: recap of the cats win against Utah Valley.
So often we hear Kentucky fans say “basketball is coming”, especially after a big win over #1 Michigan State with a veteran led team hosting plenty of seniors and experience. Kentucky fans began to think this team may not have the early-season, young-team woes that we are so used to.
Then, came the Evansville loss. We saw an Evansville team that played exceptionally good even for a mid-major team. I have to say, hats off to Walter McCarty, Former Wildcat. Then the trolling and depression came and people soon forgot the big Michigan State win. Some fans even began to throw away the whole year.
Last night was a great opportunity to make a statement against Utah Valley, but unfortunately it just didn’t happen. Today we will recap the game and give you some reasons to not give up on the this team yet.
Last nights recap- Kentucky: 82 - Utah Valley: 74 Last night the cats at game time were a 25 point favorite according to the Vegas spreads. The cats couldn’t even pull off a double digit win. Nonetheless they still pulled out the victory. The player of the game ended up being junior Nick Richards. Richards pulled out a decent stat line (21 points 10 rebounds) even though he was up against a 7 footer. Leading scorer was Ashton Hagans (26 points) while fighting a recovering leg injury. Even with the the good stat lines, the Cats still had many low spots.
Some low spots the cats struggled with were: the injury bug (EJ Montgomery was out with an ankle injury, Quickly benched with a chest injury, Donte Allen was still out with an ACL injury) also Khalil Whitney went out with a hand injury with a couple minutes to go. We saw Nate Sestina was still turning over the dribble even with all the bright spots he showed with much needed rebounding. Also, Whitney struggled on the offensive end and blew it on some really bad shots. Perimeter defense as the cats let 11 three pointers go through untouched. Lastly, the cats can’t seem to make any outside shots as they only hit one three. Threes are something the cats will have to improve on if they want this season to be a success.
This season so far has been a roller coaster. For some, It’s easy to write off the cats. However, I’ve not lost faith yet. Here’s some reasons to not give up on the cats!
1.) Nick Richards has showed major improvements despite his terrible Evansville game. This is someone many Cats fans would love to see huge contributions from as he seems to be a fan favorite. Richards played amazing against Michigan State going head to head with one of the nation’s best centers. He also dominated against EKU and Utah Valley as he recorded two of his three career double doubles.
2.) Kentucky has an injury-plagued roster right now. With EJ Montgomery and Immanuel Quickly out, you can’t get a true feel of how good or bad this team will be. These are two all star starters who have some really good experience. Also, Donte Allen is a Kentucky boy who averaged about 50 points a game in high school. So Allen should be a decent asset over the next few years. We would love to have Allen play some of his first minutes for the cats very soon. Lastly, Ashton Hagans has been playing through a leg injury since the cats only have 7 scholarship players playing right now. Hopefully the cats get healthy very soon so we can accurately gauge this team.
3.) There are many other reasons to be excited about this team despite the recent struggles— the way UK played in the garden against MSU, the team is young, full of potential, and willing to improve, but most importantly, it is NOVEMBER. Games don’t really matter until March and Cal’s teams always seem to make it work in March (somehow). So please be patient because the Cats will show improvement and don’t forget—this is arguably a down year for the NCAA.