QUICK TAKES: Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt
In our regular postgame feature, the Cats Illustrated staff offers its first impressions from Kentucky's 78-66 win over Vanderbilt on Tuesday night in Nashville...
Kentucky won going away in a game where many fans were somewhat worried heading into the game when Vegas opened the spread at UK minus-6. These games without Sahvir Wheeler have been terrific for TyTy Washington’s development and will pay huge dividends later down the line. Oscar Tshiebwe should be firmly in the NPOY hunt, and he just brings it game after game. He’s going to go down as one of the all-time fan favorites in Kentucky basketball history, and it’s only 16 games into the season. Keion Brooks Jr. played one of his better games of the season, and Bryce Hopkins did some really nice things when he was in a lineup with veterans.
This was another outstanding game by Kentucky. This team has really grown on me. They are outstanding offensively and executed at about as high a level as a team can, especially on the road against a top-50 defense. I really liked the interior passing. Right from the start, you could tell the gameplan was to feel Oscar Tshiebwe. That they did. He was, as usual, outstanding. He might be my choice for NPOY right now just because he is so reliable and such a unique player who is loaded with intangibles. They can really only comfortably go seven deep and that is not what we imagined but the core is very strong. It is one of the better teams in the country and this was an important first road win.
The Cats finally have their elusive road win. It took almost two months of the season to get one, but it was accomplished emphatically tonight. I felt like Kentucky came into this game with an excellent plan, feeding Oscar Tshiebwe early and often. He responded with another great performance, recording 30 points and 13 rebounds. TyTy Washington was rock solid again in his second game replacing the injured Sahvir Wheeler at the point, and the Cats also got some nice contributions from almost everyone in the main rotation. It would have been nice to see them maintain the blowout. Kentucky did not score a point over the final six minutes, so a lot of people just seeing the final score around the country won't realize how impressive the Cats were tonight in a traditionally tough place to play.