The Cats’ Post-Christmas Break Wish List Written by: Dylan Ballard
Edited by: Sam Stallard
As the Kentucky Basketball team returns from a well-deserved Christmas break with families, they’re also returning from a Las Vegas trip that didn’t go as planned. The Cats are currently haunted from taking two L’s in a row. The Utah Utes pulled off their most coveted win of the season against the Cats, with a 69 - 66 victory. Then, Ohio State, the now number 2 team in the country, gave the Cats another huge loss—defeating UK 71 - 65.
In both games, we saw major struggles from multiple UK players and a complete lack of offensive identity. I believe Big Blue Nation is hoping their Cats have regrouped this Christmas and come back completely transformed into a new team.
The Cats are currently 8-3 with 2 of the losses being to not-so-very-good unranked teams. It’s fair to say the Cats are showing signs of weakness. With that being said, I have few thoughts on some “gifts” I hope the Cats are bringing back to Lexington after the holidays.
Kentucky BB Post-Christmas Break Wish List
1.) I think the most important “gift” that the Cats could bring out of Christmas break would be a win against Louisville tomorrow (3:45 PM EST, CBS). This is our biggest rivalry and it would be a huge moral booster for the team, Cal, and BBN. Also, three losses in a row would put this team in a really bad state heading into SEC play. I personally believe the Cats will come out with a win because Louisville only has one scoring option—Jordan Nwora, to our four options, Hagans, Maxey, Richards, and Quickley.
Some facts about Louisville VS Kentucky ⁃ The Cats are 10-2 against Louisville with Coach Cal. ⁃ The Cats have not lost to UofL at home in the Cal era. ⁃ Kentucky has not lost three-in-a-row in December since coach Cal has been the coach.
2.) The second gift I hope the Cats bring is some offensive efficiency. UK really struggled to score out in Vegas and really struggled to score down low. This team still doesn’t have one person averaging over 14 points per game and we’re almost to January. So, hopefully someone steps up and helps get some offensive identity!
3.) PLEASE... SOMEONE HIT A THREE! This team has been TERRIBLE from behind the line. Currently, the Cats 3PT percentage is an embarrassing 27.8%. Outside of Nate Sestina hitting a few against Ohio State, no one can hit a three to save their life! Someone like Quickley or Juzang needs to start hitting some threes to gain some identity for our offense and save this UK team.
4.) Lastly, this team needs someone to step up and be the star. Hagans has been great, but I don’t believe he’s proven to be a leader on the court or even a “go get us a basket” kind of guy. I believe Tyrese Maxey is our best hope as a leader. He’s seen the most playing time averaging over 32 minutes a game, he ranks second in average PPG at 13.1, and has the attitude needed to empower the whole team. I think a lot of guys have potential, but you can’t win in college basketball without a go-to guy.
I hope everyone had a good Christmas and has a great New Year’s, but first, let’s go beat Louisville and get back on track. This UK team needs the fan base to get behind them and get them going. We don’t need to worry about Cals “broken offensive system” or how “we could be terrible this year”. Stay strong and let Cal and the coaching staff fix this team’s weaknesses. Let’s show Louisville why they still aren’t anything to worry about and will always be the little brother here in Kentucky.