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Eamonn Brennan: Kentucky will be fine

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In his weekly roundup of college basketball news, ESPN analyst (and Beisner’s best friend) Eamonn Brennan says that despite Saturday’s loss, the Cats will be just fine:

Kentucky will be fine. If you examined the game closely, there were plenty of reasons to be concerned with UK’s performance. Its young players seemed genuinely rattled by IU’s hyped-up home environment. Forward Anthony Davis committed a series of silly fouls and missed most of the game in return. Forward Terrence Jones mentally checked out. Guard Marquis Teague was shaky for much of the first half. All of these are valid mini-criticisms, but if Big Blue fans are feeling slightly freaked out, they shouldn’t be. This Wildcats team is still very, very talented, and right now its mistakes — dumb fouls, lack of focus, turnovers, broken set plays — are of the youthful variety.

Few teams in the country would have played a composed, controlled game in Saturday’s atmosphere, and when you consider that Kentucky was able to come back and nearly win the game on a day in which Davis rarely played and Jones was never his typical self, well, that’s impressive in its own right. The Cats may lose a few games on the road. They may make a few dumb mistakes here and there. But don’t worry too much, UK fans. This team will be just fine.

Brennan also chimed in on the hot topic of Saturday’s game–the disappearance of Terrence Jones. He includes Cal’s postgame comments on the matter, in which Coach downplayed Jones’ poor performance, chalking it to a “bad day” and insisting that even when Jones doesn’t show up, the Cats can still find a way to win. However, Brennan says Kentucky fans’ concern is understandable:

Kentucky is hoping for production from Jones, sure, but it also needs leadership; he is surely the most important veteran on a team largely comprised of freshmen. On Saturday, he delivered neither.

The good news? Jones’s bad games have been rare. In fact, he’s never been this bad. So it’s fair to assume he will rebound (literally and metaphorically), and very soon, and Kentucky fans will have their concerns assuaged in short order. But you can’t blame them for being just a little bit worried. It’s one thing to play poorly. Apathy is another matter entirely.

Terrence, there’s a huge game on New Year’s Eve with your name on it. If you haven’t already, circle it on that “Season Never Ends” calendar, will ya?

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2022-10-05