This Kentucky team is clearly good. While it was always unlikely that they would live up to the outlandish expectations that some had pegged them with at the outset of the season, it appears that the team is beginning to hit their stride. Where do the expectations sit now? As the season has progressed, it has been hard to track what Kentucky fans think will happen this year. Does the majority of the fan base expect this squad to be mentioned as a national title contender when the brackets are announced? Even the national analysts are having a hard time deciding how this year will unfold for the Cats. Depending on who you trust (if you trust any of them), various “bracketologist’s” have Kentucky slated as high as a two seed and as low as a six seed. The next 4 games will solidify uniformity across the board for what to expect from Kentucky for the remainder of the year. They are:
1. At LSU
2. At Missouri
3. Ole Miss
4. At Mississippi State
Though Florida is the measuring stick for Kentucky in the SEC this season, I don’t think that many fans would know what to expect if we were to play them tomorrow. Obviously every game is in doubt, but with this team I truly would have NO idea what I think would happen against a truly elite opponent. After this stretch, and with 10 conference games under our belt, this should not be the case. If the Cats rattle off four straight wins, three on the road, I think it is time to ratchet up the expectations again (if they aren’t already ratcheted). The seeding picture will become clearer and our road to the final four easier with success in the coming games. If a national title is what is in the cards for UK this season, when the February 15th match-up against the Gators tips, the expectation needs to be that Kentucky is going to win–maybe even handily (ala the 20 point victory against Florida during the 2012 title run).
Obviously there is no accurate way to predict how this season will end for Kentucky. They could go 1-3 in this stretch and still end the season cutting down the nets. The 2011 final four run wasn’t foreseen by many for instance. Still, this stretch of tough games will at least provide some stability to what we can really look for from this team. I’ll say they’ll go 4-0. What about you?