For the second time in two weeks, Kentucky will play back-to-back road games within a three day span. The Wildcats are coming off of their best win of the season at No. 16 Ole Miss, and will play Texas A&M on Feb. 2.
John Calipari's squad looks like a team that has turned the corner.
But we have heard this script before.
On Jan. 19, Kentucky defeated Auburn in a seemingly impressive performance. The Wildcats played their best 40 minutes of the year, showcasing a quality offense with their usual stalwart defense.
Just three days later, the same Kentucky team lost to Alabama—a team that Kentucky was expected to defeat. The Wildcats did not have the same offensive competence they showed at Auburn.
One week after their loss at Alabama, Kentucky showed us an entirely different team.
Faced with a make-or-break game, the young Wildcats defeated one of the hottest teams in the country. The star of the game was supposed to be Marshall Henderson, but Kyle Wiltjer and Nerlens Noel stole the show.
Ole Miss rallied in the second half, but never took the lead.
If Kentucky lost, it would have been no surprise. Calipari's team has struggled on the road, and Ole Miss is no pushover. If the Wildcats folded, it would have been par for the course.
But there was no quit in the Kentucky Wildcats. Their feeble play in Tuscaloosa on Jan. 22 was not shown. Noel played without fear, even with four fouls.
Ryan Harrow showed a backbone and buried a three, ending a 16-0 Ole Miss run. From there on out, he and Archie Goodwin put the game away from the free-throw line.
So, on Feb. 2, the Wildcats are expected to continue their ascent to the top of the SEC. Expectations are that the Wildcats will defeat Texas A&M and build on their quality road win at Ole Miss.
But will they?
These are the same expectations expressed before the Alabama letdown. Texas A&M is another expected road win, and the Aggies have been trending downward (1-4) ever since their win in Rupp Arena.
Elston Turner is averaging 10.2 points per game after his 40-point outburst.
And Kentucky has finally shown they can beat a high-quality team on the road.
Can the Wildcats improve upon their road win at Ole Miss? Or will there be another Alabama-like letdown?
College Station awaits.
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