Kentucky continues its Saturday pick game streak with another challenge this weekend. The Cats host No. 9 Kansas at Rupp Arena on Saturday night in perhaps the most anticipated game of the collegiate basketball weekend.
This will be the fifth straight Saturday that the Cats have had a big matchup on Saturday. It started with UK’s 86-63 win over Louisville on New Year’s Eve. The following Saturday, UK lost to No. 7 Alabama 78-52. One Saturday later, the Cats outscored #5 Tennessee 63-56 in Knoxville. And on Saturday, Kentucky handed Texas A&M its first SEC loss, 76-67, inside Rupp Arena.
The Jayhawks enter the game on an unusual three-game losing streak. However, Kansas sits 16-4 overall and in the top 10 in the national polls.
Kansas is also likely to have revenge on their minds after seeing Kentucky come to Allen Fieldhouse last season and deliver an 80-62 loss to the Jayhawk faithful.
Freshman guard Cason Wallace knows Kansas will have plenty of motivation going into Saturday’s game.
“They’ve lost a few games in a row, they’re on the road,” Wallace said. “We beat them last year so they have some revenge.”
So what to expect from the Jayhawks?
“We know they’re going to come in and fight as hard as they can,” Wallace said. “They’ll play along and try to take our heads off.”
As for the Wildcats, Kentucky now has four straight wins and sits 14-6 on the season. Wallace believes the Cats are reuniting.
“We’re starting to understand that offensively and defensively,” Wallace said. “I’m just coming together on and off the field. I think our chemistry is more close-knit and it shows on the pitch.”
One of the most effective formations in the UK recently has Wallace on point, with CJ Fredrick and Antonio Reeves on the wings. Wallace knows that the three guard appearance, combined with Oscar Tshiebwe’s home presence, makes the Cats difficult to defend.
“I feel it distances the field,” Wallace said. “He makes Li stay honest on the three-point line and with Oscar down there, it’s like almost giving up another three-pointer because he’s going to get the plus one if he makes it down there. Just knowing we can throw it at him and if they double, he can throw it out. I feel like it’s a tough formation for people to secure.
Kentucky hopes its confidence can help push the Cats through a fifth straight Saturday game.