Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Avoiding the Hangover Game

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Feb 20, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari reacts in the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt 74-70. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

87-74 Win at Ole Miss

This was the game that was going to put Kentucky on the map. The Rebels were ranked #16 in the country and rolling through the SEC. The Wildcats hadn’t had a real quality win all season long. Marshall Henderson was making headlines by popping his jersey, popping his mouth and taking drunken pictures with questionable looking women. The Wildcats walked into a hostile environment and blasted Henderson and company. Finally, UK had defeated a ranked team, and on the road to boot. Things were looking up, right?

What Happened After?

Actually, it was all looking peachy for a while. Sure, Kentucky followed up their performance against Ole Miss by traveling to Texas A&M and winning in overtime. They also let Auburn hang around for too long but won by 10 at Rupp. Some of the games weren’t pretty, but Kentucky won five in a row. And then Florida happened. The Wildcats were getting stomped even before Nerlens Noel was lost for the season, but they were blown out of Gainesville 69-52. Then the wheels came off completely against Tennessee as Kentucky was throttled 88-58. Things looked awful and the NIT looked more like a reality then ever before.

90-83 (OT) Win vs. Missouri

This is the freshest game in our memory. Kentucky looked great and won when their backs were against the wall. Many experts had written them off but they rose to the occasion and took a must when game.

What Happened After?

Still to be determined. Hopefully Kentucky will not suffer a hangover like they have many times this season. They have extremely winnable games against Mississippi State at home and against Georgia on the road. The contest at Arkansas is extremely worrisome as the Razorbacks are 16-1 at home this season and Florida will also be tough at home. Out of those games, Mississippi State and Georgia are must win games, Kentucky probably has to win at Arkansas, and the game against Florida really isn’t that important unless it’s a Kentucky win, but much of that will be determined how they handle the first three games on their plate.

I’m not saying there will be a let down, but the pattern indicates that there may be one ahead. I hope I’m wrong and I really hope that they finally turned the corner for real tis time.

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