Kentucky's six game winning streak comes to an end down in Knoxville. The No. 4 Cats fall to No. 16 Tennessee by thirteen points.
It was an ugly one, and the Wildcats couldn't seem to catch back up after losing their lead halfway through the first half. Kentucky couldn't make a basket and that hurt them at ever having a shot to win this one. Another thing that hurt - losing TyTy Washington. It was thought to be a for sure no-go just 24 hours before tip-off. It wasn't until about an hour before the pregame shoot around that the rumor of him playing started circling. Fast forward to the shoot around, including warm-ups, TyTy was seen with the team in his playing gear, as well as, Jacob Toppin, who was dealing with ankle problems. It seemed to be that they would both be available against Tennessee.
Well, they were. TyTy Washington even started the game. The freshman guard tallied in just twelve minutes in Knoxville before exiting the game just one minute into the second half, with clear problems coming from his left leg, resulting in him needing to sit the rest of the game out.
He was not happy about it, whatsoever.
John Calipari led off in his postgame presser that he wishes he hadn't played TyTy tonight. “If I had to do it over, I would not play TyTy. I shouldn’t have played him. I asked him twice, ‘Why don’t you just step back?’” Then TyTy responded, “I can do this.’ John continued with, “I was going to not play him in the second half, and I did, so, I called him in and I said, ‘Look. I should’ve just gone with my gut.’”
Who knows how long TyTy Washington could be out moving forward, but it’s clear they’re going to make sure he is back to 100% so they can have him for the big picture of things, during their postseason run, the SEC Tournament, and any time before hand once he’s back to full strength.
Full strength seems to be an old memory to this team. Kentucky has now only played 12 complete games this season at full strength. The injury bug has hit this roster hard all season long. It’s cost them a few games even. They have yet to lose at full strength in 2022 and I still believe they’re a top-three team when completely healthy. Let’s just hope they find healthy bodies come March.