Skip to main content

Kentucky Squarely On The Bubble After Tanking Against Arkansas

One step forward, two steps back.

Score: Arkansas 73, Kentucky 60

Star(s): UK: Willie Cauley-Stein 13 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Stl, 4 Blk. UA: Coty Clarke 14 Pts, 12 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Stl.

Story: Kentucky got beat by a tough Arkansas team in Fayetteville. 

The Cats lost a must-win - but how much of the loss was Kentucky beating itself? Kentucky got into foul trouble early in a very rough game. Alex Poythress, who has been a huge defensive factor, fouled out of the game with five minutes left to play.

Arkansas scored 30 points off of the Cats' numerous turnovers. Also, Arkansas's defense shut down the Kentucky offense; Arkansas had 11 steals against the UK. On top of all of that, the Razorbacks out-rebounded Kentucky 43-36 on the glass. Coach Cal's reaction to getting dominated on the boards? "This was bad but we've been worse." 

But what seemed to stand out the most was Kentucky's inability to score. Julius Mays, who has been a huge scoring factor for UK, hit his first and only basket with 1:52 left in the game.

Kentucky only had three players score in double digits; Goodwin, Harrow and Cauley-Stein. The rest of the team only scored a combined 23 points. The Cats shot 46.5% and only 21.4% from the three-point line. 

Post-Nerlens, Kentucky has been on a roller coaster ride, to say the least. Without Noel, Kentucky lacks depth on the bench, height in the paint and is missing a scoring threat. Noel is out for the season, and it's now March (crunch time). Does Kentucky have what it takes to make it to the NCAA Tournament? 

The Cats have two games remaining in their regular season. First there is an away game against Georgia on Thursday and to close it out, Kentucky will take on Florida at Rupp Arena. 

Whether or not Kentucky will ever get off the bubble will depend not only on the outcome of the games against the Bulldogs and the Gators but also its SEC tournament performance.