Kentucky Wildcats walk the walk and destroy the talk

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Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After that performance by the Kentucky Wildcats. it may be easy to expect a letdown. You can expect that, but not from these Kentucky Wildcats. They remain focus, determined, and well aware of the huge target on their backs even if Notre Dame does not talk smack.

"“We’re on a mission,” said Harrison, who had 12 points and two assists in just 22 minutes Thursday. “It’s going to be really tough to beat us, because we’re so determined and so focused right now, and we have one goal in mind. All of us have come together and we’re just pushing each other, trying to make our dreams come true.” As the postseason has progressed, the Cats’ confidence has clearly grown. There’s an increasing air of invincibility in their locker room, a belief that no one can keep up if Kentucky is at the top of its game – and even sometimes when it isn’t. ESPN aired a 30-minute show last week devoted to the timely topic of how to take down the Cats, which now makes the players laugh. They’ve won six postseason games by an average of 21.5 points. “It’s funny when you watch the TV on ways to beat us,” junior 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein said after producing eight points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and a steal in helping UK negate WVU’s vaunted press. “What else they gonna add? Like, ‘You got to have rocket shoes so you can jump up and get their balls before they go in the hoop?’ What else they gonna come up with? “You’re just gonna have to beat us playing straight basketball and play out your mind and let us play out of our mind and go down to the end. That’s how you’re gonna beat us.”"

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats will next face Notre Dame for a trip to the Final Four. And it is a very dangerous opponent that is just coming off a ACC Tournament win. The Fighting Irish are legit and very capable of ending Kentucky’s run at perfection. And the articles of how the Fighting Irish will defeat Kentucky have already started.

Again, a perfect Kentucky team is unbeatable and the ‘Cats are the undisputed best team in college basketball. But one-and-done tournaments don’t identify the best, they identify the survivors. Kentucky played flawlessly against West Virginia, which is either bad news for Notre Dame (the ‘Cats are rounding into form) or great news (they’re due for a stinker). It’s going to take some Wildcat struggles for Notre Dame to hang around and maybe, just maybe, the refs play a part in that. If the officials take control of the game early and whistle Kentucky’s big men for fouls, it’d be a travesty on par with Greg Oden getting two quick touch-fouls and having to sit for much of the 2007 title game. But it’d be good for Notre Dame. The common theme this March has been horrendous officiating from refs who want to take control of the game. Notre Dame wouldn’t necessarily mind some of those refs working on Saturday night.

Next: Darrin Horn, Jim Sparnarkel talk UK, NCAA

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