Attempts were made to brace and prepare for what was to come for Kentucky Basketball in the 2015-16 season. Everyone knew regular season losses would once again return. Thirty-eight straight wins to start the season was the exception rather than the rule.
This year’s team would be the quiet and reserved contrast to last year’s here we are whether you like us or not squad. In essence 2010 and 2011 were being duplicated. History, albeit brief, was already repeating itself.
The first loss came at UCLA. The loss everyone inevitably knew was coming had finally arrived. It was taken in stride for the most part. The Ohio State loss was a jolt to the system. LSU and Auburn were hard to deal with too. After the Auburn defeat a regular season SEC title, much less a deep run in March, seemed out of the question. South Carolina and Texas A & M were flying high and running them down didn’t seem feasible. We had scrutinized every millisecond of the season and become prisoners of the moment whether we realized it or not.
Fast forward to the home stretch of the regular season and Kentucky finds themselves perched atop the conference in their customary spot. At 11-4 in SEC play they are one game clear of the aforementioned Gamecocks and Aggies. They’re work is by no means done. They have to finish strong at Vanderbilt, Florida and at home against an LSU team in ever-changing degrees of disarray, but you can’t help but like how far they’ve come in such a short period of time.
Tyler Ulis Is In The Zone
Now you’re probably wondering what in the world I mean by the subheading above. Ulis is finally starting to get the love on a national stage that he’s been getting from the Big Blue Nation all along. He’s been putting up numbers against all comers and playing virtually the entire game every time out to boot.
His assist to turnover ratio has indeed been laughable for quite some time now.
That said, I still think that there are times where he has been “in the zone” from a passing standpoint. For example, look at the last game against Alabama. Tyler was coming down the middle of the floor on the break. He had Isaiah Briscoe on his left. As always he was in control the whole way and set the table perfectly with a long bounce pass to Briscoe that was right on the money and led to an easy lay-up.
However, it’s an assist that didn’t happen that drives the point home even more of just how well he sees the court.
Against Tennessee at Rupp Arena Ulis was again leading the break, this time dribbling up the left side of the floor. Marcus Lee was up ahead sprinting down the middle of the court and he was sort of bracketed by two Volunteer defenders. There was a small, minute, moving window that Ulis had to laser a pass into if he so chose.
It was a split second either you do it or you don’t type of situation. Ulis elected to do it and he zipped a perfect (almost) dime to Lee who caught the pass right at the rim.
Now I can’t read what was going through Marcus Lee’s mind in that instant but I think there were a couple of things: 1.) He was surprised Ulis attempted that pass and 2.) he was surprised that he caught it. Either way he wasn’t prepared to gather himself and go up for the dunk. It was one of the rare times Lee didn’t finish, an assist that wasn’t for Ulis.
It will be fun to see how things play all the way out. Every contending team this season is flawed, no one is dominant. And the Cats are beginning to put things together at the right time.