As Kentucky wraps up their non-conference schedule and dives head first into SEC play, lets evaluate where they stand.
They are currently 17-4 with wins over North Carolina, Texas A&M, No. 18 Tennessee and No. 5 Kansas. They have at least 15 wins that have come by double-digits and they're 6-2 against in-conference opponents. Those two losses coming from at No. 25 LSU and at No. 2 Auburn, in which both of Kentucky's point guards exited the game with injuries - yes in both games - the two hardest hardest SEC road games they had been presented with all year.
Kentucky's other two losses came in their first outing of the year against Duke, which they did keep it close and if you wanted to make excuses, was their first game of the season and had no identity as a team. They just tried different things and attempted to see what stuck. The other loss came at Notre Dame, which happened to be the morning after the Western Kentucky tornado tragedies took place, so in one instance you could say their minds might not have been all the way there for that game. If you don't agree with me making excuses and want to hold it against them that a loss is a loss, which is true, I'd tell you that Kentucky has always struggled against Notre Dame under John Calipari, and especially in South Bend during his tenure. That loss against the Fighting Irish that we thought was so bad at the time was in reality just a solid team, and who were better than us at that period. They've went 11-2 since playing us, upgrading our loss to a Quad 1 loss, which is completely fine when it comes to tournament seedings come March.
In fact, all four of our losses have been Quad 1 losses this year and if you gave me those four today I'd chalk it up as a guaranteed 2-2 record against them, with a very likely case to win 3 or even all 4 of those matchups. I say that because Kentucky is playing as good as anyone else is in the country right now, and their seven spot jump in the AP Poll this week says so as well.
Entering SEC Play
Kentucky now has just ten games left in the regular season before traveling to Tampa for the 2022 SEC Tournament, and here is how they pan out.
Feb 2: vs Vanderbilt
Feb 5: at Alabama
Feb 8: at South Carolina
Feb 12: vs Florida
Feb 15: at Tennessee
Feb 19: vs Alabama
Feb 23: vs LSU
Feb 26: at Arkansas
March 1: vs Ole Miss
March 5: at Florida
Five games at home, five games on the road. I honestly see the Cats winning six of those as a worst case scenario, although they can definitely win all ten. We're seeing 'February play' from this team in the early weeks of January and I'm as confident as ever that they're about to make a historic run into the postseason.