By DOUG EADS
Well, we’ve all had a week to discuss PJ Washington’s foot injury, and wonder whether or not he will be available for Kentucky moving forward in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Tonight in Kansas City, all the speculation will come to an end and we’ll get the answer to that question, as the Cats square off against the Houston Cougars in a Sweet 16 matchup.
Will this be a tough game for Kentucky with or without Washington?
Sure it will be. Houston is a 33-3 team, and this is the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament. Any game moving forward for any team should be a tough game.
This game is not a cupcake by any means, but I do think Kentucky will prevail, and yes, with or without PJ Washington.
If I had to guess, I think PJ plays tonight. How much and how effective he will be remains to be seen, but I do think he will play.
But, let’s change gears for just a moment.
We all know Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson and Reid Travis will be playing this evening, and that’s a dilemma for the Cougars. Yes, Houston you have a problem.
What about the defense Herro played on Wofford’s Fletcher Magee last Saturday in round two of the tourney?
Are you kidding me? He held the most prolific three-point shooter in the history of college basketball to an 0-12 day from downtown.
I love Herro. I love everything about his game. He’s just a ‘baller’, and he proved last week that he can help his team win on either end of the floor.
Keldon Johnson and Reid Travis are both men on the inside and down in the paint, and they will present problems tonight for a smaller Houston team.
Ashton Hagans is as good as any point guard in America at running a team, and I often have wondered where we would be without him and the development he has shown over the course of the season.
And, look at how well Jamarl Baker played last week, by scoring eight points off the UK bench; and we needed every one of those big plays and those points from Baker.
The bottom line is this. I hope PJ is close to 100 percent, and I hope he plays tonight like he did throughout the course of this season.
Whether he does or not remains to be seen. However, I picked Kentucky to make it to the Final Four in Minneapolis before this season ever started, and I’m not going back on that prediction tonight.
With or without PJ, I think the Cats will find a way to prevail over Houston tonight, and will get across the finish line first.
I just hope it’s by more than just a foot.