College basketball blue bloods battle, try to bounce back from mid-week losses


at the Kansas University vs. University of Kentuckyl game on Saturday, January 30, 2016 in Louisville, KY. Photo by Cameron Sadler | Staff 

Chris Angolia

It will be about 363 days since UK and Kansas last met when the two teams go toe-to-toe on Saturday at Rupp Arena in a matchup of top-4 teams.

Last year’s game was an instant classic between two college basketball blue-bloods that saw the Jayhawks prevail 90-84 in overtime at the famed Allen Fieldhouse. That game saw two top-notch backcourts go head-to-head with Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Briscoe and Jamal Murray against KU’s Wayne Selden, Devonte’ Graham and Frank Mason, and this year looks to be no different.

Each of the two backcourts will return at least one member who played in this game a year ago. Briscoe is now alongside freshmen De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, and for the Jayhawks, both Mason and Graham are back and are joined by freshman stud Josh Jackson.

With each team being dominated by their backcourts, the focus will clearly be on each team’s trio, but what may be more important than advertised will be the frontcourt play of both of these teams. In last years matchup each team had just one guy over 6’4’’ score in double figures (Alex Poythress had 13 for UK and Perry Ellis had 10 for KU) and this year between the two teams, Bam Adebayo is the only true big man averaging in double figures.

Aside from the individual matchups, and to the surprise of many, both teams will be heading into Saturday’s game looking to bounce back from a loss. With both teams coming off a loss, it means that one of the top-four teams in the nation will go 0-2 this week even though if Kansas goes 0-2, it will be drastically different than UK going 0-2.

The Jayhawks lost in Morgantown for the fourth straight year to No.18  West Virginia on Tuesday just two hours prior to the Cats falling at Tennessee for their first conference loss on the season. For Kansas, two road losses to ranked teams is nothing crazy and as seen every week in college basketball, winning on the road is not easy no matter who the opponent.

As for UK, going 0-2 with a road loss to 11-9 Tennessee and a home loss to Kansas would show more regression rather than progression with coach John Calipari’s team.

Even though Calipari has repeatedly said that he thinks his team is “one or two months away”, this game against Kansas on Saturday will show all of college basketball how far or how close this year’s UK team is to a finished product.