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Julius Randle Injury: Updates on Kentucky Star's Status

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07: Julius Randle #30 of the Kentucky Wildcats goes to the basket as Amida Brimah #35 and Lasan Kromah #20 of the Connecticut Huskies defend during the NCAA Men's Final Four Championship at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2014

It has been an incredible NCAA tournament run for the No. 8 seed Kentucky Wildcats, but they are dealing with much more than Connecticut during the national title game. 

Eric Crawford of WDRB in Louisville alerted fans to the status of superstar Julius Randle in the contest’s early going:

Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports recognized that Randle looked far from 100 percent before the ball was even tipped:

Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports and Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead noted that Randle appeared to be nowhere near his usual self in the first half:

The Huskies stretched their early lead to double digits, no doubt partially because Randle was virtually ineffective from the beginning. While he did start, these cramping issues have hampered him against a physically imposing Connecticut defense, which puts even more pressure on the Wildcats guards.

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07: Head coach John Calipari  reacts as Julius Randle #30 of the Kentucky Wildcats walks towards the bench during the NCAA Men's Final Four Championship against the Connecticut Huskies at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, T
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Furthermore, Willie Cauley-Stein is already out for the title game. One of Kentucky’s biggest advantages over its opponents throughout the tournament has come on the glass, but missing Cauley-Stein and having an injury-plagued Randle neutralizes that against Connecticut.

Postgame Update

Randle played the majority of the game despite the cramping issues and finished with 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and a block behind 3-of-7 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 shooting from the free-throw line.

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07: Julius Randle #30 of the Kentucky Wildcats sits on the court during the NCAA Men's Final Four Championship against the Connecticut Huskies at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

He was not aggressive on the offensive end like one would expect from a superstar in the national title game, and his lack of production was one of a number of reasons why Connecticut won the game 60-54.

Fortunately for Randle, the cramping clearly isn't an injury that will be a long-term concern. His NBA draft prospects certainly won't suffer because of one bad game, although Wildcats fans wish that bad game didn't come at the biggest moment of the season.

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