Waiting to See if the Kentucky Wildcats Will Lose


Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Wildcats stories for Thursday, February 19, 2015.

Contrary to what Andy Sweeney may tweet, lots of people (fans certainly and likely more than a few media) are waiting for Kentucky to lose. Willie Cauley-Stein gets it. Jerry Tipton writes:

"“‘As players, we’ve got to know it’s going to be tough everywhere we go,’ Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein said. ‘Especially now that we have this huge target on our back. The whole country wants us to lose. They want to see us lose. We have to come in like they’re trying to kill us-type stuff.’”"

A lot of people think Kentucky has a good chance to go undefeated, not just in the regular season but all the way to the national championship. And even more people think that at the very least the Wildcats will win the national championship, even if they have one or two losses before the NCAA Tournament. But will they win it all? Chris Chase writes:

"“But that’s not what fans want. They have that title banner hanging in Rupp. They’re thirsty for history. So maybe UK gets through the regular season undefeated. Maybe they cruise through the SEC tournament. And, depending on which No. 2 seed gets placed in their region, they’ll be as overwhelming a Final Four candidate as you’ll ever see. But there, in Indianapolis in the opening days of April, is where those easy regular season games might come back to haunt Kentucky and turn a possible 40-0 season into a 38-1 year that fans will forever remember as the 2015 that might have been.”"

There was a time, right before the college basketball season began, that many people felt like Arizona could lay a legitimate claim to being ranked number 1 instead of Kentucky. As the season has progressed, the Arizona Wildcats haven’t had quite the same level of success that the Kentucky Wildcats have had. And, in the process, other teams like Duke, Virginia, and Wisconsin seem to be more of a threat to Kentucky. But, could Arizona be the best team to beat the ‘Cats? Adam Green writes:

"“At the beginning of the season, when Sporting News NCAA writer Mike DeCourcy was asked who he thought had the best chance to knock off Kentucky, he pointed to Sean Miller’s team.‘When Arizona plays its best basketball I still believe that for these reasons,’ he told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday. ‘Athletically, they match up better than most, with two unbelievably athletic wings. Really, more athletic than the guys they’re going to have to play against if they play Kentucky. You’ve got a point guard who knows his way around the floor as well as anybody. You’ve got size inside — not Kentucky size, but you’ve got size.And you are a defense-first team, a team that can guard the lane and make the game difficult.’”"

Assuming all goes well at the NFL Combine, Bud Dupree will likely hear his name called in the first round of the NFL Draft later this spring. A remarkable feat for the former 3-star tight end. Kyle Tucker writes:

"“That Dupree is on the cusp of NFL millions is remarkable, given that he came to the Cats as a three-star recruit and 220-pound tight end four years ago, a gem unearthed by previous coach Joker Phillips. He laughs now when asked if he had any inkling of what he’d become. ‘Honestly, no.’‘But then I moved to defense and everything really changed. I think it worked out good for me. I’m glad Coach Joker moved me to defense,’ Dupree said, making sure to credit his first college coach while recognizing the role played by Stoops – who turned former three-star recruit Bjoern Werner into a first-rounder at Florida State, too. ‘When Coach Stoops and his crew came, that just took my game to another level.’And as Kentucky tries to take its program up a notch, having Dupree glide across that stage in New York this spring wouldn’t hurt.”"

John Wall has become one of the NBA’s premier point guards. He has matured on and off the court. And as a result, the Wizards have a shot at being a very dangerous team in the NBA Playoffs. Kurt Helin writes:

"“It wasn’t smooth or painless, but John Wall has grown up.For a lot of fans that’s evident on the court. Wall is averaging, 17.4 points but more importantly leads the league with 10.1 assists a game. He also leads the league in assist percentage at 45.9 percent (the percentage of teammate field goals a player gets an assist on while he was on the court).However, it’s on the defensive end where Wall is having a bigger impact for the Wizards. The Wizards are fifth in the NBA in defensive rating (giving up 1 point per possession) and Wall is key to that — Washington is 10.8 points per 100 possessions worse defensively when he is on the bench.Wall admits he used to take plays off on that end, knowing he had to attack and lead the offense on the other. No longer. Wall said it started with improved conditioning so he could have the energy at both ends, it allowed him to be more aggressive. Then it just became about focus.”"