As Lee Corso would say, Not So Fast My Friend. After the K-State Chin Straps defeated Texas a couple nights ago, many around facebook, twitter, friendster, and UK’s campus proclaimed how great it was for Kentucky to be number one again. And I will admit, it’s pretty awesome to be the last big unbeaten team in the NCAA’s. But as far as the official ranking? We still have to beat Arkansas on Saturday before popping the champagne on that one.
For those of you who don’t know (and honestly, I think most of you that read this site do,) the polls come out every Monday. Texas lost Monday night. That means they hold number one until next Monday, and if Kentucky stays unblemished through then, no matter how much Doug Gottlieb may protest, your Cats will take over the top spot. So what about this Arkansas team? As the only thing standing in UK’s way any actual threat? Well… yes and no.
First we’ll tackle the yes. What about Arkansas screams a threat to UK? In the past three games, they stayed with Texas up into the 80 point range, they lost by two at Mississippi State, and gave Alabama the business. Starting with the Texas game, Courtney Fortson returned from a suspension to lead the Razorbacks. John Pelphrey, even he is on the hot seat, is loved by the Kentucky fan base, so that has to count for something. Finally, Rotnei Clarke represents what this Cats team has come to fear the most. Dead eye three point shooters, that in no way should be able to physically keep up with our talent. But somehow do. Look for him to potentially go off on Saturday.
But if you pick and choose any teams strengths, you can make them look threatening. So how about we look at why the Cats shouldn’t be scared? For one, and this is a pretty big one, Kentucky is flat out more talented than Arkansas. Their starting big men had a total of 13 rebounds against Louisville earlier this season. Boogie had 18 by himself. And with potentially four lottery picks in the starting line-up (join the club Eric!) that’s a big check on UK’s side.
Secondly, this team delivers for big games. Look at the UNC game, look at UConn, but I would argue that more importantly, look at the Drexel game. During the Cats 2000th win, they did something they have rarely done this season, and dominated an inferior opponent. This is primarily due to the motivation to achieve that special goal. Here we have a team playing to be ranked number one in the nation, they will know the significance and play accordingly.
Finally, even if none of the rest of this were true, Kentucky will win on Saturday because of one thing. John Wall, John Wall, John Wall. The kid simply doesn’t know how to lose. I expect the game to be a little close in the first half, but be blown open by an early second half Kentucky run… But if it doesn’t happen like that? John Wall will make sure the Cats are number one come Monday. So, again, would I say the Razorbacks are a threat? Well, yes and no… But really? No. Just… no.
So what do you think? Arkansas – Are you worried?