By Ron Hamblin – Let’s face it folks, the Cats are a work in progress. They have played five really tough teams, Michigan State, Baylor, Providence, Boise State & North Carolina. They lost to Mich. St., & Baylor on neutral courts, and lost to N.C. in their first true road game. The defeated Providence on the road and beat a solid Boise State team at home. Should we really be worried about the North Carolina loss? Not really. The UK Wildcats are finding out just how tough it is to have a team filled with promising stars.
Kentucky will go as Julius Randle goes and let’s face it, he did not show up at N.C. No one can deny Randle’s heart. It just seems that he is letting opponents double and triple teaming to cause him to fade in to the background. He has been steady in his offensive numbers since being in beast mode to begin the season. Against North Carolina he was a no show compared to games past. There is no doubt U.K. players will start to jell sooner than later, they are too good not to. Julius Randle should touch the ball 2 out of every 4 trips down the court and with the Cats other talented players coming together, should ease the double and triple teaming of Randle.
A look at Kentucky’s schedule so far shows they have been in every game and with a few free throws and about 4-5 fewer turnovers, the young Wildcats are still number 1 in the nation and undefeated, but that is why we play the games. Against Michigan State, they were dominated in every category, yet only lost by 4 points. Against Baylor, they blew a late 9 point lead only to fall by 5 points. At North Carolina, in what I still think was the worst officiated game in recent memory and with no Julius Randle, U.K. loses by 5 on the road.
No one will want to go near the Wildcats in February and March. Kentucky may lose another game or two but rest assured, they will be the favorites when March Madness rolls around.