Kentucky has dropped two straight after Thursday’s 72-62 loss to Georgia, which has only added to the bubble talk that has centered around this team for much of the season.
Since Nerlens Noel went down with a torn ACL, the Wildcats are 3-3 and head into Saturday’s afternoon showdown with No. 11 Florida. A win against Florida would bluster Kentucky’s resume, but a loss would force the Wildcats to make a run in the SEC Tournament. Head coach John Calipari put it simply to his team at Friday’s practice: “This is a one-game season.”
The stage is set for Big Blue Nation to lift its spirits. It’s at home, on senior day against the top team in the SEC. The same team that smacked them by 17 back on Feb. 12, which was also the game where Noel suffered his season-ending injury. If that’s not enough, maybe Kentucky isn’t deserving.
Coach Cal took all the blame for the team’s lack of chemistry, yet Archie Goodwin stated after the Georgia loss, the players have more than their fair share.
We’ve got one more regular season game left and there is not much you can coach us about. You can’t coach a mentality. You just can’t do it. He’s prepared us thus far, but you just can’t coach a mentality. You’ve got to want to do it.”
If the Wildcats want to be one of the 68 names called on Selection Sunday, they have the chance to prove it on Saturday with a marquee win to wrap up the regular season. Big Blue Nation will have a better sense of security with a win over the eleventh-ranked team in the country, especially with potential bid thieves coming from various conference tournaments.
The damage has been done with especially since Noel has gone done. All three losses have been by double figures, including a 30-point lss to Tennessee. Although Kentucky did beat Missouri, two of the three wins during this stretch have been against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, who combine for a 10-24 conference record.