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Cats Look to Rebound After Season’s Rough First Half


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So, a matter of days after I write a post about the Cats’ fantastic rebounding prowess, they get demolished on the boards at home by a feisty Tennessee team who showed them no respect inside.  Or post-game.  I guess that’s my fault, and I’m prepared to take the blame for that one.  I just wanted to start today by apologizing after I realized the correlation.  My bad, everyone.

Now, with that jinx out of the way, I’ll give another one, but KNOCK ON WOOD FIRST. (IKEA furniture has some wood in it, right?)  With a difficult first half of the season under wraps, the Cats are ready to excel in the second half and cement their spot as a top-4 seed in the NCAA tournament.  We’ve talked about it in posts and on the radio, and it’s centered around a few things: confidence as a team, polish added to natural ability, and emergence of key players.  From Andrew Harrison’s hope-inspiring two-game stretch, to Poythress’ “beast mode,” to the team’s ability to compete without Julius for the periods when he’s cramping (somebody get that kid a cranberry juice), we’re seeing real, substantial improvement.

And we’re not the only ones seeing it.  ESPN has flagged Kentucky as one of their teams on the upswing through conference play, leading up to the post-season.  Check out the UK-related highlights:

Low point: UK watched its nine-point lead collapse in the final 13 minutes against Baylor and its three Texas-native freshmen had their homecoming spoiled by the Bears 67-62 in Arlington. The Wildcats, like the Jayhawks, looked as if they would never mature.
Turning point: The Wildcats realized they were more than just Julius Randle when they beat Louisville 73-66, with Randle sidelined for most of the second half with cramps.
On point: Andrew Harrison, like all of the Kentucky freshmen not named Randle, is beginning to figure out the college game. (Randle, of course, already has an advanced degree in this game.) The Cats also have shown that they can play lockdown defense, especially when center Willie Cauley-Stein is on his game.
High point: Beating rival Louisville, which was ranked No. 6 when they met Dec. 28. It remains their only win over a ranked team this season.

The only concerning part is the note that Kentucky can play “lockdown defense, especially when center Willie Cauley-Stein is on his game.”  After last night, we’re not always guaranteed a focused WCS, but hopefully the funk is a fluke, rather than a pattern.

So, did I jinx this one, too?  Or are the Cats really looking good for the second half of the season?

Article written by Corey Nichols

16 Comments for Cats Look to Rebound After Season’s Rough First Half

  1. JSand
    6:09 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

    HORRIBLE Title, Corey. HORRIBLE.

    We are ranked 14th, are playing well, and are coming together nicely as a team … not “looking to rebound.”


  2. 2mites
    6:41 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

    I agree with #1 that this team has nothing to rebound from but is instead a team that is learning to play together, growing into their roles and improving in the areas of their weaknesses. There is no reason why these Cats cannot go as far as they want with this talent and depth. Remember that the 4 losses were due to poor play that were still winnable by better free throw shooting.

  3. UK Freshmen
    6:49 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

    So what you’re saying is that Cal has coached this team from #1 rating in the country to a fourth seeded team….if we keep on winning. Gee thanks, Coach!!

    • What?
      8:01 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

      Hey Lardbucket! Listen up and listen tight-that is not what is being said. You are in your own fantasy world where everything sucks.

    • theSkinny81
      2:43 am January 23, 2014 Permalink

      Hey, UK Freshman, shouldn’t you all still be celebrating your win over UCONN? I mean, the defending National Champs beat the defending-different-head-coach-post-NCAA-sanctions-champs from three years ago. At home. That’s a big win for you all.

  4. hell cat
    6:59 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

    I’ll agree with the first two posters. While the first half of the season wasn’t exactly as we’d have preferred, I’d hardly call it ‘rough.’ I think the Cats are in a good position and poised to make a long run deep into the tournament.

  5. Shelton is Key
    7:04 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

    The second half of the season will be worse than the first half.
    No way Kentucky beats Florida at home or away. Then road
    losses at Missouri and LSU are practically a given plus the
    possibility of other road losses. Then in the SECT here comes
    Florida again. #1 seed? What a joke.

    • Shelton is a Cretin
      8:03 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

      Hey Moron. Feel free to post elsewhere. Take your crap and get lost.

  6. Jimmy
    7:20 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

    Shelton your the joke

  7. dj
    8:15 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

    Shelton I think I heard your momma yelling. Bath time and bedtime for you. Trim your line beard tomorrow after your morning shift at Mcdonald’s. “L” that loser.

    8:34 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

    #5: Amen….and thank u for posting what everyone else seems to be afraid to face or refuses to face or doesn’t see clearly: that this team is a clear overhyped group who are underachieving based on their talent level…OR they were not actually as “dominant”prospects as they were rated. But the facts are out there, anyone who is willing to look at it objectively can see the realities of this team. I am as big a fan and bleed Blue as much as the next UK fan, but I can also face facts whether they are good news or bad news. And this team has shown us who they really are, and its not going to change or get any better. They are a huge team who will out-rebound almost every opponent they will face, and they have a lot of athleticism, but they do not have any consistent shooter, outside especially, the free-throws go without saying and will not get any better, they commit entirely too many unforced turnovers, and their decision-making and attitudes are not the best. And u can’t just say “well they’re freshmen”, Cal had plenty of freshmen in the past who had the right attitudes. Andrew Harrison is one of the most overhyped and overrated prospects in a long time. He doesn’t do anything really well, he doesn’t even do any “point-guard” things. He does not have the quickness of Wall, the ballhandling and scoring of Knight, or the toughness of Teague. And he’s a terrible passer. And not very mature either. This group is missing the “intangible-type” characteristics guys like Knight, Jones, Lamb, Davis, MKG, Teague, Wall had, the kind of mental toughness that enables u to respond when hit in the mouth by a good team. WCS is soft and not focused enough on basketball, and has no offensive talent whatsoever. Right now, Poythress’ emergence, and Randle and Young doing what they do are the only positive storylines going on. Dakari has provided a nice spark off the bench as well, he and Lee will get better, and contribute more as sophs. But for this season, the jury is out, they’ve already shown who they are, and whatever round the last game of the season comes against whatever team, they will go down in a similar fashion as the 2010 team against WVA, they’ll shoot 4-27 from 3 against some mid-level team’s zone and get upset because they don’t have the mental makeup everyone was expecting them to have. On paper, yes they still have the potential, but we would’ve seen a change take place by now that would indicate that drive toward March and we have not seen it and are not going to. Sweet 16 the most likely finish. I mean what UK fan, if told last summer, this team would be a 4 seed and barely in the top-20 come tournament time, would’ve taken that or been happy with that? NONE OF US! I mean lets be real here, ppl…..

    • Plenty
      9:25 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

      That was very long winded. Did you spend all evening on that? I see UK taking 1, maybe two more losses and finishing as a 3 seed, which is fine. How about you just start cheering against them, since you’re so pessimistic.

    • Come on
      9:30 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

      Yeah. I bet you thought was a bad investment 20 years ago too.
      Save your post for the end of the season.

    8:51 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

    Flip a coin, time will tell. Some of you people need to relax. Keep in mind this is just college basketball, don’t give yourselves heart attacks over a bunch of kids. The program is in good hands and we should trust those in charge.

  10. John Short
    10:20 pm January 22, 2014 Permalink

    Honestly this is one of the worst articles I have ever read starting with the title. “Look to rebound?” Honestly, the writing on this site has gone way down hill and Matt knows it. You can tell when he answers listener’s comments on the radio show. Go ask 4 loss Kansas if they are looking to “rebound” in the second half. If the low point in a team’s first half is losing to a top 15 team on the road (tourney committee will see if as road not neutral site) then I will freaking take it.

  11. Mike
    8:03 am January 23, 2014 Permalink

    Blue Jeezy: You say your a UK fan? I say BULLCRAP. True UK fans don’t post all the negative stuff you do and trash 18 and 19 year old kids the way you do. If everyone were like you we wouldn’t have these great recruits looking and coming to UK. So go back to whatever hole you crawled out of and go back to sleep!!! In other words, do everyone including yourself a GREAT BIG favor!