Kentucky basketball: 2017-18 Final reactions – Reaction No. 4

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 11: Wenyen Gabriel
ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 11: Wenyen Gabriel /

Rather than “Rushed Reactions”, this week I will unveil my final reactions from Kentucky basketball’s 2017-18 season. Here is Part 4 of my Final Reactions.

This Kentucky basketball team experienced ups and downs, highs and lows, and drove BBN crazy at times. For the youngest team in college basketball this season, there was plenty to like from this squad. But ultimately not making the Elite 8, and some head-scratching losses, there was plenty to dislike from this squad too. Here is Part 4 of my Final Reactions:

The SEC Tournament was the peak

This Kentucky basketball group peaked during the SEC Tournament. The tournament was a stretch of 3 games that Kentucky played great. Defensively, the Cats were terrific. Offensively, the Cats were great. Winning 3 games in 3 days, this was the best stretch of basketball for the Cats in the 2017-2018 season.

Kentucky became SEC Tournament Champions, and they had the best player in the tournament in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. BBN also saw Wenyen Gabriel playing at his best, especially a breakout performance against Alabama. This team had great moments during the season, especially the wins against Louisville and on the road against West Virginia, but the SEC Tournament was this team’s pinnacle moment.

The SEC Tournament saw several great “team” performances by the Cats. SGA was clearly the best player for the Cats in this tournament. However, other players stepped up as well, especially on offense.

Kevin Knox was able to consistently knock down tough shots and get to the hoop. Wenyen Gabriel made SEVEN three-pointers in the game against Alabama. Sacha Killeya-Jones even got into the action, highlighted by a monster dunk in the championship against Tennessee. Quade Green, PJ Washington and Hamidou Diallo had their moments as well.

Next: Kentucky basketball: 2017-18 Final reactions – Reaction No. 3

When UK was at their best, it was because they had multiple players that could get into double digits in scoring in the same game. In the SEC Tournament, this was routinely done, with 4 players in double digits some games.

In the Semi-final against Alabama, UK had 4 players in double digits, and Diallo with 9 points. Gabriel finished with 23 points, Gilgeous-Alexander with 19 points, PJ with 14 points and Knox with 11 points. Kentucky made 12 three-point shots in this game, with 5 different players connecting from deep. When the Cats could knock down perimeter shots like this, they were playing at their best.

In the SEC Tournament Championship, Kentucky once again had 4 players in double digit scoring. Shai led the way with an outstanding 29-point performance against the Vols. Knox finished with 18 points, connecting on 3 three-pointers. Gabriel once again hit double digits, finishing with 12 points, connecting on 2 three-point shots. Quade Green was the 4th player in double digits, dropping 10 points.

Next: Kentucky basketball: 2017-18 Final reactions – Reaction No. 2

The Kentucky basketball team also rebounded well in this game, which had been a concern throughout the season. UK had 4 players grab 5 or more rebounds: PJ, SGA, Knox, and Wenyen.

On a side note, I was at each of Kentucky’s SEC Tournament games this year, and let me tell you, the SEC Tournament is a blast! If any of our readers get a chance to attend, I highly recommend it!  It’s a great opportunity to see the Cats play in a unique setting. But just as good, it’s a terrific opportunity to try some local food joints!