Everyone knew Kentucky would be good this year, but now it looks like this blue-and-white squad could go down as one of the best ever.
John Calipari's Wildcats (13-0) solidified that standing with a 58-50 win over the instate rival Louisville Cardinals, who were also undefeated going into the weekend. And it was Kentucky's stellar defense, paired with some key moments on offense, that allowed it to pull away with the win.
The Wildcats quelled the offense of the fourth-ranked Cardinals, keeping them 25 points below their regular season average. That continued a stretch which has put Kentucky at second in the nation for allowing only a paltry 47.8 points per game.
Louisville always represented the greatest challenge to Kentucky's undefeated hopes. And now that the Cardinals have been dispatched with, the Wildcats' ceiling seem limitless.
Once again, what makes this Kentucky squad so intimidating is that it is a true 10-to-11 deep team. Chock full of top recruits and All Americans, it's clear that you can't rest on the Wildcats bench or younger players.
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This game it was the 5-foot-9 freshman Tyler Ulis who made a name for himself.
After getting a brutal elbow to the eye that had to receive three stitches during halftime, Ulis scored 12 of his 14 points to keep the Wildcats ahead in the final frame. With his gutsy play, the diminutive guard helped Kentucky win the Bluegrass State, and quite possibly set them up for a run at an undefeated season.
Karl-Anthony Towns continued his near double-double season by adding 10 points and nine rebounds. And the suffocating defense of lanky, energetic freshmen continued their pressure on opposing scorers.
This was the first time Louisville and Kentucky entered their matchup both ranked as top 5 teams. It also proved to be the first major test for a Kentucky squad that includes four freshmen.
Up next for the Wildcats is a respectable Ole Miss team that has gone 8-3. Kentucky will enter its Southeastern Conference schedule in what is expected to be a down year for the football-centric conference. Two matchups against Missouri, Florida and Alabama may be tough outs, but Kentucky will remain clear favorites in each of those contests.
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