The Vanderbilt game? Continued growth? What am I talking about?
Let me explain myself.
Prior to their win over No. 7 West Virginia in Morgantown, Kentucky’s biggest win of the season was their 90-61 dismantling of Louisville. Kentucky shot a shade under 50% on both two and three-point shots and 83% from the free throw line.
This was the first of two games of a quick Friday-Sunday turnaround. Kentucky came off of the emotional win over the Cards and had to quickly get ready for the first game of SEC play against the Georgia Bulldogs.
As warm as they were against the Cards, they were equally as frigid (just under 33% from two and three-point land) against the Dawgs.
They were still able to grind out a hard-fought 66-61 win.
The scenario is similar going into Tuesday night’s game against Vanderbilt. The turnaround isn’t as quick (Saturday-Tuesday as opposed to Friday-Sunday) but it’s still challenging to come off of an emotional road win at West Virginia where they had to fight, claw and battle back to overcome a large second half deficit.
The opportunity for continued growth will be determined by the way they come out against Vanderbilt. Will they build on the West Virginia game or will they be a little flat like they were for the Georgia game? Of course they can get the win either way, but it will just be interesting to observe.
Vanderbilt is 8-13 overall and 2-6 in SEC play and will be without Matthew Fisher-Davis for the remainder of the season.
That doesn’t mean the Commodores can be slept on. They will come to Rupp Arena looking to build on a nice win of their own. They picked up one of the SEC’s wins in the SEC-Big12 Challenge by knocking off TCU who just recently knocked off West Virginia themselves. So they will definitely be ready to play.
As always, the game in Nashville was tough with Kentucky leaving Memorial Gym with a 74-67 victory. Remember, Vandy senior Riley LaChance also stepped to the line for three free throws late in the game with a chance to trim Kentucky’s 70-66 lead to one.
Instead, he had his own version of a Nick Anderson moment.
If Kentucky comes out and picks up where they left off in Mogantown it shouldn’t have to come down to that.