By Austin Payne
The Kentucky Wildcats incurred their second loss of the season thus far on Wednesday, that loss coming to a Utah team that isn’t even apart of the AP top 25 at the moment, though that is likely to change soon.
Many casual fans will look at this and be shocked that a team as prestigious and well known for late tournament runs as Kentucky would fall to a team such as Utah, who is almost never talked about on the national scale or even known for having many NBA prospects.
Despite their mediocre and simply okay reputation, this Utes team sits at 9-2 on the year, having bragging rights and wins over teams like Minnesota, BYU, Nevada, and now Kentucky to top it off. All four of these teams harbor a level of talent that’s maybe not quite NBA level, but there are several players from this group of teams that will likely find themselves in the league, thus making these wins all the more impressive.
They rank 22nd nationally in points scored per contest, and when considering the abundance of college basketball teams we have as compared to say the NBA, ranking that high is almost elite offense. Their leading scorer is a 6’6 wing in Timmy Allen who hardly shoots threes, in fact he’s hitting at about 9% on only 1 attempt per game. They have three other players north of 10PPG, and four more above 5 points per. Though that isn’t a lot individually, consider a 20 point per game scorer paired with a steady 50 in supplement as well as other variable contributors and per game scoring, and you’ve got a very well rounded offense.
Kentucky on the other hand, ranks 214th nationally in points scored per game, which is a bit…rough, especially for this program. If we’re being honest, yes the Cats’ have pulled in big name recruits per usual, but they just haven’t quite secured any generational talent as of late. Where’s the Karl Anthony-Towns? Where’s John Wall? Where’s De’Aaron fox? Where’s a Devin Booker? Where’s AD? Where is there even a Tyler Herro? Kentucky did grab some nice players in Tyrese Maxey, Khalil Whitney, and Johnny Juzang, but they all seem to be taking their time adjusting to the college game and contributing consistently.
Undoubtedly, John Calipari has his work cut out for him this season and this group of players. Having just signed a lifetime contract worth up to $86 million dollars, the pressure is somewhat on, though we wouldn’t expect JC to end up on any type of hot seat for not delivering a title with this squad.