Kentucky Wildcats podcast: Talking Davidson, Buffalo, 3-point streak and NCAA Tournament survival

BOISE, Idaho — John Calipari tried to warn us about sizing up a Kentucky-Arizona matchup in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. You’ll look up, he said, and that big, bad team you’re expecting to see down the road has up and lost.

Nailed it. While the Kentucky Wildcats (without making a 3-pointer for the first time since the 1980s) survived a first-round game against the Davidson Wildcats, the Arizona Wildcats (good grief, people, get a new mascot) got  shellacked by 13th-seeded Buffalo. So its Bulls-Cats for a trip to the Sweet 16.

Host Curtis Burch and beat writer Kyle Tucker went live from Boise on Facebook, taking your questions, to record the latest episode of Wildcat Country, your daily UK podcast presented by SEC Country. Here’s the rundown:

  • Did anyone  really care that for the first time in 1,047 games Kentucky failed to make at least one 3-pointer in a game, ending the longest streak in college basketball history? Just win, baby, and John Calipari clearly could not have cared less.
  • So … is it time for Sacha Killeya-Jones to start over Nick Richards? Kyle doesn’t think it matters, because Richards starting has become almost ceremonial and SKJ (with Jarred Vanderbilt still out) is getting more minutes. He had 8 points, 6 boards and another electrifying dunk Thursday night, extending his streak to three consecutive major contributions off the bench.
  • How about freakin’ Buffalo, man? That was a complete undressing of projected No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton and Arizona. After scoring 25 on Zona, Wes Clark said he wanted a piece of Kentucky because he went 0-4 against the Cats when he was the point guard at Missouri (and mostly by blowout). He embodies a team playing with the proverbial chip on its shoulder (Wavy Lays, I’m told).
  • Will Jarred Vanderbilt play in the second round? In short, almost certainly not.
  • Hamidou Diallo has (in fits and starts) really stepped up his defense (3 blocks, 1 steal, several contested shots in the first half Thursday) and significantly minimized his negative plays on offense. Tip of the cap to him, a guy who expected to be  the guy for this team, accepting a lesser role and doing what he can to help the Cats win.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox, in the first NCAA Tournament game of their careers, were all kinds of clutch Thursday. Up two with three minutes to go, that pair combined to make 13 of 14 free throws and score 17 points the rest of the way. They’re the keys to a potential Final Four run, and they know it.

The post Kentucky Wildcats podcast: Talking Davidson, Buffalo, 3-point streak and NCAA Tournament survival appeared first on SEC Country.

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