The Kentucky Wildcats are having an unexpected start to their season. They entered the Champions Classic against Duke on Tuesday expecting a win, being by a wide margin the favorite to get the W against a talented but much younger Blue Devils team, but things didn’t go as planned–at all.
The Devils ran all over the Wildcats, and they lost the game by a whopping 34.
Fans, naturally, hoped for redemption in their second game of the season against Southern Illinois after being humiliatingly manhandled by Duke, but the Wildcats got off to a slow start again–they were crippled by poor ball movement and a slew of unnecessary turnovers.
Fans didn’t take it well–the loss to Duke is still fresh in everyone’s minds, and fans on Twitter weren’t optimistic about this further evidence of the Kentucky team’s deficiencies.
Fans React on Twitter
Kyle Tucker, a writer for The Athletic, commented on the disorientation of the Wildcats defense:
Just after this timeout noted by John Clay, sports columnist for the Lexington Herald, Southern Illinois scored easily within seconds, further deflating the Kentucky team:
This basketball fan had a pretty apt summary of Kentucky’s playing of late:
And this fan pointed out that Kentucky didn’t quite make the statement they were hoping for, even with the win:
There was a lot of frustration with how uncertain a win was for the majority of the game:
And a prediction from a fan:
The Wildcats eventually pulled it out, though, with extra help from Green and Richards:
Have the Wildcats Figured It Out?
It took until deep into the second half for Kentucky to recover, where they eventually grabbed the lead and hung on to get the win (to deafening roars from an extremely relieved crowd). The Wildcats finally appeared to have some energy and flowed together for the first time this season.
Tyler Thompson, Editor-in-Chief for Kentucky Sports Radio, was relieved by the lead but understandably dismayed that it took so long.
The second half of the game showed flashes of what fans hoped there would be much more of this season, but maybe the Kentucky team is out of the woods.
The loss to Duke certainly left them shaky, and this win could help them build the confidence they had expected to have–along with a healthy dose of humility that will linger all season from that initial loss and the shaky start to their second matchup.