Staff predictions for second half of men’s basketball season


Kentucky freshman guard Ashton Hagans reaches for a loose ball during the game against Duke in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Kernel sports staff

Keldon Johnson currently leads UK with 15.5 points per game. Will he be the leader at the end of the season?

Chase Campbell, assistant sports editor : I think so, especially with the slump Reid Travis is having. Unless Tyler Herro catches fire or P.J. Washington owns all the games moving forward, Keldon is the most consistent scorer. Even when he’s not shooting well, he’s scoring.

Erika Bonner, sports editor: With how he’s performed so far, it’s hard to imagine Johnson trailing off towards end of the season and not being this team’s leader. He’s shown in the first half of the season how consistent he is, and unless P.J. Washington or Reid Travis have a completely stellar second half of the season, I definitely see Johnson being the leader.

Ashton Hagans is averaging four steals for every game he starts. Does he break Rajon Rondo’s school record of 87 steals in a season?

Chase: I find it hard to believe he won’t. Rondo averaged 2.6 steals per game in that fated season, and Hagans is almost caught up to him with a head start for Rondo. He’s the most terrifying on-ball defender I’ve ever seen.

Erika: Ashton Hagans is unreal, and yes, I think he will break that record. He is an absolute terror defensively and after watching him have EIGHT steals against UNC (more steals than he had points, which was seven, in a game that he started), I don’t think there’s anything he can’t do, including producing upwards of 87 steals this season.

What will UK’s record be, going into the SEC Tournament?

Chase: 25-6. That’s not a bad record for the gauntlet they’re going through (Auburn, Tennessee and Mississippi State all twice). Even if it hurts their seed a little, they’ll be a very, very good team come postseason.

Erika: I’m going to say 24-7. They lost some that they probably should have won, but in the second half of the season I see them coming together more than they have so far. Like Chase said, they’ll be scary come tournament time.

What will UK’s record be against the three strongest teams in the SEC: Tennessee, Auburn, Mississippi State?

Chase: I can see them losing every single one, and winning every single one, so I’ll say they split it 3-3. I doubt they’ll win all the home games, or lose all the road games, but it’ll even out. They’ll get rocked by Tennessee at least once.

Erika: These three teams are tough, but I see UK going 4-2 against them. One or both of those losses coming from Tennessee.