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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Wildcats Blowout Arizona State But Don’t Look Intimidating

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Yes, it is true that the Kentucky Wildcats (9-1) are the No.5 team in the nation and they have enough talent to win it all this year, but if we are honest about this year’s Kentucky Wildcats squad, this is not as intimidating as the past clubs John Calipari has boasted in Lexington.

Take Kentucky’s Saturday afternoon 72-58 home win over the Arizona State Sun Devils for example. You never felt like Arizona State was over-matched in this game at all, in fact the Sun Devils only went into the locker room down 32-31 and looked like they could hang with Kentucky until UK decided to pull away in the second half.

Arizona State never looked like they were going to be out of the game until the Wildcats found their outside shooting stroke in the second half of the game. The Wildcats hit 15 of 26 shots (58%) in the second half to put away the Sun Devils who already have collected a win over an SEC team in the beating the No.18 Texas A&M Aggies last Saturday.

Skal Labissiere, who is allegedly the second best player in the nation, did not put any fear in the heart of the Sun Devils and finished with only one block and five fouls.

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  • If it was not for Jamal Murray finding his game and finishing with 17 points, Arizona State might have been in a position to pull off the road upset.

    Even with Murray finishing with 17, it was sloppy only hitting 4 of 13 from the field and 2 of 6 from three-point land. If it was not for him getting to the line and knocking down 7 of 8 from the charity stripe, his stat line would have been a whole lot different.

    Marcus Lee was steady in this game with his 14 point and seven rebound contribution to the squad. His five blocked shots was the most intimidating thing about the Wildcats on Saturday, but his game showed that no one is wowed, feared, or in awe of the Wildcats.

    Arizona State needed to take better care of the ball and maybe knock down a few extra shots to make this upset happen.

    The Sun Devils 17 turnovers did not help Bobby Hurley’s team out one bit, not to mention the 37.1% shooting from the floor.

    The imbalance in free throw attempts maybe had a hand in the outcome of the game with UK hitting 18 of 26 from the charity stripe to ASU’s 8 of 15.

    The Sun Devils got double figure scoring from Tra Holder, who finished with 15 points, and Kodi Justice who added 12 points to the stat sheet.

    Dec 12, 2015; Lexington, KY, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Bobby Hurley reacts during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats in the fist half at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

    Bobby Hurley is a Kentucky Wildcats’ hunter at the end of the day. When he was in college at Duke he was on the court when Christian Laettner hit the game winner with one second left receiving the full court pass from Grant Hill in 1992.

    When he was the head coach of the Buffalo Bulls last season he had that team in position to possibly pull off an upset.

    At the end of the day, no one fears the Wildcats this season. This is not the John Wall Wildcats or Anthony Davis Wildcats or even the Karl-Anthony Towns version of the Wildcats.

    This Kentucky Wildcats team is light in the rear end and appears to be soft in the middle.

    Their guard play is strong and is going to have to carry the squad in the end. Alex Poythress is solid as a senior leader and is going to have to continue to stay healthy to bring the Wildcats some much needed experience.

    But the front court of the Kentucky Wildcats simply does not put any fear in the hearts of opponents, and that is the tie that binds when you compare the great Kentucky teams that John Calipari has had in Lexington.

    It is too soon, and possibly not fair to say that Skal Labissiere is overrated, but it is fair to say that he was underwhelming in this last outing.

    The SEC conference is going to be a wide open affair when conference play starts next month. If the rest of the league is watching they have to feel they have a shot at beating UK.

    Next: Connecticut Huskies Get Needed Resume Win Over Ohio State

    Next up for the Wildcats is a home game against a very underwhelming Ohio State Buckeyes club next Saturday.

    Maybe the Wildcats can make a major statement against them next week.