We are probably getting an ANGRY Wildcat squad that has lost 2 in a row to teams they have no business losing to on their worst day. They lost @ home to Arkansas 71-67 (OT) and then to lowly SC Lite 72-67 on Saturday. The current group of one and dones @ Kentucky still haven't gelled... and I suspect when they hit the NCAAT they'll be gone in the first week.
Anyways, if there was an example of a bad matchup for us this is it. Julius Randle if motivated will eat our lunch inside. He might out-rebound the entire team. He is dropping 15.5/10.4 a game. Many say he's a SEC POY candidate, but I don't see him being more important than at least 3 others in contention (Releford being one of them).
The Harrison twins are also averaging double digits in scoring, but digging into the season stats you can see neither is what we thought they'd be (both under 42% FG), but Andrew is hitting 36% from beyond the arc which is a team best for those that actually take more than 1 a game.
James Young is scoring 14.6/game which is 2nd best, but again... sub-par FG percentage (40.7%).
Willie Cauley-Stein comes off the bench scoring 7.6, but his physical presence (7'0") again is something we don't have an answer for unless big Carl Engstrom does his best Mark Eaton impression.
Alex Poythress seems to have regressed as a sophomore... or the current crop of one and dones don't mesh with him. He's another hugely talented player that for whatever reason hasn't played well this season.
The problem with the players above will come down to match-ups. We don't have an answer for Randle, the Harrison twins probably get a steady diet of Cooper and Randolph, while Young sees a rotating presence between all of our other undersized guards.
Big one: + 10.2 rebounding margin.
Prediction: It's a road game and this probably won't end well. It is senior night (the 2 honored barely see the court) so this will be the final home sendoff for the current one and dones.
Tip-off is 3/4 @ 9PM EST on ESPN.
SEC bubble teams
- Arkansas: I say if they win their last 2 and don't embarrass themselves in the SECT they are in... by the skin of their teeth. I don't think they will since we will beat them on Saturday.
- Tennessee- gotta win @ the Barn before the big game vs Mizzou means something
- Missouri- @ Tennessee makes or breaks them Saturday
Could end up with just Florida and Kentucky in the NCAAT assuming no shenanigans happen next week in Atlanta (a tourney I'm going to have to skip attending due to other obligations).
We all know how important he is to this team, but when you look at the stats it paints an even greater picture:
- #1 in scoring (18.8), assist (3.1), steals (2.3), FT (.869), minutes played (34.8), and 3PT FGs (.399).
- without him I suspect we lose another 5 games to an already miserable season
I know I am biased, but that is SEC POY numbers IMO.