Five reasons Kentucky better take UNC Greensboro serious
The Cats play their final mid-major team on their schedule on Saturday but it will be a very tough match-up. UNC Greensboro will be the best team that the Cats have faced since losing to Duke. Here are five reasons that Kentucky and fans should be ready for a battle on Saturday.
- UNCG was a 13 seed in the NCAA tournament last year– They went 27-8 on the season and 15-3 in conference play.
- They nearly upset Gonzaga in the tournament– We had the opportunity to watch them face the Zags in the 1st round of the tournament in Boise last year. I came away very impressed with the Spartans who lost by just 4 points in the final minutes. Gonzaga had the vast majority of fans in the crowd but UNCG took them to the wire and were unfazed by the moment.
- They lost at LSU by just 6 points this season– In recent years that may not sound all that impressive but LSU has their best team in a long time and is a very likely NCAA tournament team. The Tigers won the game 97-91 but the Spartans showed they can compete with a top 25 team on the road.
- They return 5 of their top 7 scorers from last season– They are a team full of veteran players that are experienced winners. They have played on big stages before and they will not back down in Rupp Arena. Francis Alonso is their top offensive weapon and he has scored 1,662 points in his career. Of their eight players that get a lot of minutes, six of them are upper class men.
- They are 7-1 and projected as a 13 seed in the tournament– I could see them getting as high as a 12 seed depending on how the season plays out but they will be a favorite pick to upset someone in March. A win in Rupp against Kentucky would really boost their tournament resume. Just giving the Wildcats a close game on national TV would be a real positive for them and it is what I expect to happen.
The Cats have improved a lot over the last few weeks but Saturday will reveal a lot about how far they have come. Just winning the game in any way would be a real positive in my opinion. A win by more than 15 points would be very shocking but it would be very encouraging. In the end I think it will be something in between a nail biter and an easy win. My prediction is that the game is close for much of the contest but the Cats will pull away with a modest 7 point win in the end. The final score will be 84-77 with PJ Washington leading the team in scoring. As Kentucky prepares for the schedule to get more difficult each week, this game is perfect preparation. Make no mistake about it, this will be a very tough game for the young Wildcats.