The month of December began (Dec. 1st vs. Baylor) and ended with a loss for Kentucky, but in between the two losses were four straight wins and the return of its starting point guard to the lineup. The biggest concern heading into this month was the point guard position, and fortunately for the Cats, Ryan Harrow has returned to the team and solidified his spot at that position. In his final two games of December, Harrow scored 23 points vs. Marshall and 17 in a hostile environment at Louisville. For a kid who has been questioned about his toughness, it’s also important to note a combined 5 steals in the last two games for Harrow. The month of December wasn’t always pretty for Kentucky, but the major positive has to be the emergence of its point guard.
On the downside, Alex Poythress hasn’t emerged to consistently play the way Kentucky needs him to, Julius Mays is going through a slump, Archie Goodwin still makes poor decisions at times and nearly everyone on the team could use some free-throw practice.
The good news is that Kentucky has time to right the ship. SEC play is near, but the Cats won’t face a ranked team again until February 12th against Florida. January appears to be a month Kentucky can string together a nice winning streak heading into the meat of its SEC schedule, which includes three games against ranked opponents in February and March (two with Florida, one with Missouri) and a road game vs. Tennessee. January will not give Kentucky an opportunity to prove itself again on the national stage, but it will give them time to work on what is plaguing them and add to the quantity of wins it will need for its NCAA tournament resume.
Take a look at the January schedule below. The most difficult team UK will face in January is Tennessee, but the Cats will get them at Rupp for the first meeting. Vanderbilt is not the same Vanderbilt of the last several years. There’s always a chance of dropping an SEC road game, but Kentucky should be favored in every game this month. Can the Cats win-out in January?