After convincingly beating Arkansas; the Wildcats beat UGA to become one step closer to a perfect season and closing out the SEC undefeated. The Wildcats are clicking on all cylinders and have been projected to win the national championship. The question looming over everyone’s mind is, can they continue to win big games and remain perfect with the pressure of the fans and the media?
March Madness brings a great deal of pressure for every team in the tournament. Kentucky will have considerable pressure trying to keep their record blemish free. Some of Kentucky’s top performers have struggled significantly the last few games. Receiving SEC freshmen of the week 5 times, Devin Booker has struggled with being able to get his shots off from the field and around the three point line, during both the Arkansas and UGA games. During the Arkansas game he shot just around 40 % from the field and missed all 4 of his 3 point attempts. Also, Willie Cauley-Stein has struggled, during the Georgia game especially; he only made 28% of his shots from the field.
One player that was key for Kentucky’s win against the Bulldogs on Tuesday night was forward Carl-Anthony Towns. At the beginning of the game he had difficulty getting shots inside the paint, but still managed to put up 19 points and get 7 rebounds against UGA.
Although Kentucky did not play their best game Tuesday night, UGA didn’t make it easy for them. Georgia came out and played a zone defense against Kentucky, which made it very difficult for Kentucky’s big men to go inside and score points in the paint. Also Georgia was not just efficient on defense but offense as well. They used their size and quickness to their advantage, which allow them to make fast breaks to the basket and put up crucial points when they needed them. As the clock ticked down Georgia was not able to walk away with the win, giving Kentucky their 30th win of the season.
As coach Calipari said after the Georgia game, having late season struggles may be a good thing for the Wildcats. Being tested the way UK has over the past few week shows the team’s weaknesses and allows them to see areas of the game they may need to work on improving.
Kentucky’s next game is against Florida this Saturday, which gives them plenty of time to rest and recover. The Wildcats played Florida early this season and Florida presented problems for them. They had one of their largest point deficits against Florida when they were down by almost 10 points. Kentucky had a hard time containing guard, Michael Frazier II. Due to a game ending ankle injury Frazier was not able to finish the game which really hurt Florida’s chances of winning against UK earlier this season. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the game and how Florida will come out during the game, considering Frazier has not returned since his game ending injury against Kentucky. Will Kentucky be able to remain perfect as they head into the playoffs? Only time will tell, but everyone can rest assure that we will see an exciting game on Saturday.
Kentucky finishes up their regular season at home in Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. They will play against the University of Florida at 2:00 pm on CBS.