While the rest of us celebrated in jubilation after the ‘Cats knocked of the #11 Gators in Rupp, I was curious what would be said about this UK team now. The world of journalism is a “what have you done for me lately” kind of business. Calipari was standing next to the grim reaper after falling to Georgia. After the win over Florida, now Kentucky’s on the right side of the bubble. While everyone is in agreement they still have some work to do in the SEC Tournament, at least the ‘Cats finally showed what they are capable of. Here are some reactions from the ESPN staff:
Myron Medcalf puts Kentucky in his “8 teams that have something to prove” category:
The Wildcats won the most significant matchup of their tumultuous 2012-13 season when they toppled Florida at Rupp Arena. It was a great win for a program that’s re-entered the bubble conversation. For every high, this program has endured a low, though. Saturday’s victory over Florida certainly helped Kentucky’s cause. But it will enter the SEC tournament with an uncertain future. An early stumble for the 2-seed could lead to an NIT bid. So John Calipari’s program will certainly have something to prove in Nashville.
Eamonn Brennan puts Kentucky in his “Saturday’s Winners and Losers” category:
The biggest bubble story of the day, and almost certainly the most impactful, Kentucky’s win over Florida put the Wildcats back on the right side of the bubble in their final regular-season opportunity. Considering where UK was after its loss at Georgia just two days ago — all self-recrimination and disbelief — it was a bit remarkable to stand up at the last possible moment, once and for all.
I won’t spend a whole lot of time here, because you can read my reaction from this afternoon instead. Long story short: UK is no lock to make the tournament, and it still has to navigate a tangle of prospective bad losses in the SEC tournament, but right now, compared to much of the rest of the bubble, the Cats are closer to being in than not.
Jason King didn’t mention the ‘Cats by name, but he did state that he is now “worried” about Florida. He says while they are still a team that could make a run to the Final Four, playing in the mediocre SEC could harm the Gators. They don’t appear to have the same edge about them they did at the beginning of the year. He also notes that Florida doesn’t have that killer instinct to close out teams and cannot win close games.
While Kentucky’s goose has not been saved, they definitely pulled their heads out of the fire on Saturday. I would be willing to bet that not many “bubble teams” can boast a win against a team like Florida. The other problem for the ‘Cats, is the other “bubble teams” had good wins yesterday as well. Baylor blew the door off of Kansas, Tennessee beat Missouri, and Ole Miss beat LSU. The bubble is very soft, but it appears to be firming up a little as we head into conference tournament play. One bad loss to a sub-par SEC team could torpedo the ‘Cats back into NIT discussions.