In the end, you can chalk up the Kentucky Wildcats loss in the Bahamas as just tired legs and six games in eight days. Despite the outward celebrations and wishes of Louisville and Indiana fans, Kentucky was not exposed nor are they in danger of losing their status as a title contender. Gary Parrish tells us that despite the loss, Kentucky enhanced their reputation and that kicks off this edition of the Kentucky Wildcats Morning Headlines.
Bottom line, the Wildcats, dead-tired by the end, didn’t escape the Bahamas without a loss, but they still managed to enhance their reputation as the favorites to win the 2015 national championship. To that point, folks are yet again starting to talk about the odds of Kentucky finishing 40-0, which has always been among Calipari’s dreams, and it’s important to note that the odds remain stacked against it. But after watching 240 minutes of August basketball, I wouldn’t completely rule it out.
Am I predicting it?
Perfection in this sport is a sucker’s bet, always. But lots of people talked lots about 40-0 this time last year, and that team, though crazy talented in its own right, wasn’t nearly as equipped to make a run at that kind of history as this team, on paper, now seems to be. Simply put, this group seems better than that group, and that group nearly won it all.
In the end, everyone has their takeaways on the Bahamas Trip. One of my biggest questions was how long the platoon system of rotating five players in and out may last and if we may see that in the regular season. Eric Lindsey from CoachCal.com seems to think that it could work.
Two-platoon system may work – If we’re being honest, how many of you expected the coaching staff to ditch the two-platoon system by the end of the trip? Come on, raise your hands. I know I was one of them. Though the two-platoon system worked so well in the first couple of games, I figured that, at some point, as the games got close, we would see a smaller rotation.
That’s just the way Calipari has done it during his time at Kentucky, playing six, seven or – at most – eight guys. That could still stand to be the case in the regular season, but I think Calipari is strongly considering the two rotations with how well it worked in the Bahamas.
Will there be situations where one rotation will get more minutes than the other? Sure. We saw that Sunday when the second unit provided the energy the first didn’t have. Where there will be times when different combinations will be used and players will stay on the court during crunch time? Yep, we saw that in Saturday and Sunday’s games. The most important factor in the two-platoon system’s success is energy.
The buzz is already there for Karl Towns to be the number one pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and both he and Tyler Ulis have emerged as freshman contenders for the Wooden Award. Myron Medcalf rans down a list of Wooden contenders and in the end, almost every Wildcat was listed.
Kentucky — Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, Aaron Harrison … take your pick. The whole team is a contender.