The second matchup of the BBN Jam Tournament is sensational, pairing together two teams many believed were Final Four bound.
In 2004 Tubby Smith’s Wildcats were the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. The SEC Tournament Champions had only four losses to their name when UAB stunned the Wildcats in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The shock is comparable to what UK fans experienced when the 2019 season ended in overtime of the Elite Eight against Auburn, a team UK had defeated just weeks earlier by 27 points at home.
TALE OF THE TAPE
There might not be a matchup with more trash-talk. Fitch was notoriously nasty on the court. The entire team was defined by physicality, none more so than Azubuike, that is, if it was a good day. Tubby Smith infamously described Azubuike as, “Looks like Tarzan. Plays like Jane.” Sometimes we got Jane, but when Tarzan showed up. Yikes.
Azubuike could match Washington’s strength in the paint. The problem is that it typically took at least two people to defend P.J. in the post. Few have attracted more double and triple teams in recent memory than Washington. Few have been more consistent finishers around the rim as well.
Tyler Herro is a walking bucket, but he actually is a lower-percentage shooter from behind the behind the three-point line than Fitch. In ’04 Fitch was the SEC Tournament MVP after averaging 20.6 points per game in the Georgia Dome. Herro was a second team All-SEC selection to Fitch’s first team nod, but Herro does have one big advantage over Fitch and that’s when it matters most.
When Kentucky trailed UAB in 2004 and needed a big play, they could not get one. When the Wildcats trailed by one to Houston in the 2019 Sweet 16, Washington and Herro were at their best.
Who do YOU think prevails in this highly-contested four-five matchup?
BBN Jam Round One: A 4/5 Trash-Talking Matchup for the Ages. https://kentuckysportsradio.com/basketball-2/bbn-jam-round-one-2019-washington-herro-vs-2004-fitch-azubuike/
UPDATE: The 2019 team of PJ Washington and Tyler Herro advances.