By DOUG EADS
Last summer when Stanford’s grad-transfer Reid Travis announced he was coming to Kentucky to play his final year of college basketball, expectations for the 2018-’19 Wildcats went through the proverbial roof.
Talk radio and even national pundits got on TV and stated it was national championship or bust for this team.
Then, there was those four games in the Bahamas when Kentucky looked like the juggernaut the Big Blue Nation figured the Wildcats would be this season.
But then, there was that season-opening, 118-84 blowout loss to hated Duke, and all of a sudden the sky was falling in Big Blue Country.
Well, as Lee Corso has sometimes been heard to utter, ‘Not so fast my friend’.
As we head into this week’s SEC Tournament down in Music City, the Wildcats are pretty much where everyone expected John Calipari’s club to be at this juncture of the season — at or near the top of the heap in the landscape of college basketball.
Kentucky jumped to fourth yesterday in the latest AP College Basketball Rankings, and going into post-season play this week at least, the Cats are on the one line in most every projected bracket out there.
To stay there as a one seed, probably means Kentucky will have to win a fifth consecutive SEC Tournament crown this weekend — a challenge I believe the Wildcats are going to rise to the occasion and do just that.
I mean, outside that abysmal performance at Tennessee a little over a week ago, one could make the argument that Cal and the Cats have been playing about as good as any team in America over the past month and a half.
And for good reason.
P.J. Washington has been playing like a man possessed down in the paint, and Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro are as good as any two freshman wings in the country.
And while Travis has missed the past five games with a knee strain, his imminent return to the Kentucky lineup is coming at the perfect time.
Kentucky is a very, very dangerous team without Reid Travis. With him, the Cats are a serious, and I mean serious national championship contender.
Ashton Hagans has really come on of late, and with guys like Nick Richards and E.J. Montgomery, and Immanuel Quickley coming off the bench giving this team solid play and quality minutes, Kentucky is indeed poised to make another deep run into March and beyond.
Yes, it’s post-season time in college hoops, which means it’s time for the University of Kentucky to try again for national title number nine.
March Madness is upon us once again. Sit back, buckle up, and let’s all enjoy the ride and see just how far this year’s UK team can take us.
It’s very possible when all is said and done, where this team takes BBN is at the top of the college basketball pinnacle.