The early season clash between two blue bloods of college basketball was tight throughout. The experience of the Jayhawks proved to be the difference as they were able to squeek out a four-point win.
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) November 15, 2017
With Kentucky starting five freshman, John Calipari once again will have a lot of coaching to do early on in this season. However, the youngsters did show a serious amount of promise.
The Wildcats and Jayhawks exchanged the lead throughout most of the game, but the youth of Kentucky showed down the stretch. The Wildcats committed 18 turnovers in the game, many of which came in critical moments.
One bright spot for Kentucky was freshman Kevin Knox, who dropped 20 in his first prime time game. The superstar potential is definitely there for Knox, who was named Florida’s Mr. Basketball in his senior year at Tampa Catholic High School.
Bill Self’s squad had a much more balanced attack, with players four in double figures. Svi Mykhailiuk led the way for the Jayhawks with 17, and senior Devonte Graham scored 11 on a tough shooting night.
Although he struggled, Graham was able to knock down two clutch free throws in the final seconds to put his team up four.
Self’s Jayhawks will look to once again win the Big 12 for what will be the 14th straight season. If they are able to accomplish that feat, it will tie John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins for the most consecutive conference titles.
This team will once again be led by experienced guard play. One year after the Wooden Award winner, Frank Mason, took the world by storm, it is now Graham’s turn.
The Jayhawks will have a few easier games, including South Dakota State on Friday, before they face Syracus on Dec. 2.
Once again, Calipari knows his team has some work to do but if they can tap into their potential, they will win a lot of games. They will likely need Knox to step up and be the alpha-dog like Malik Monk was last year.
Next up for the Wildcats is a home game against East Tennessee State on Friday.