The Cats have now reached their full potential, maybe

The Kentucky bench erupts after a three point shot during the second half of the University of Kentucky vs. Arkansas at Rupp Arena in Lexington , Ky., on Saturday, February 28, 2015. Photo by Jonathan Krueger

By Kyle Arensdorf

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The narrative floating around the Cats this season hasn’t changed much.

Not many teams have a shot at beating them and, somehow, better teams seem to have less of a shot at beating them.

Against ranked opponents this season, UK averages 72 points per game and holds its opponents to less than 35 percent shooting.

The Cats had 84 Saturday against Arkansas, the best team the SEC has to offer, who shot 37 percent from the field.

The only thing that seems to change when looking at UK’s season is the increasing likelihood of it doing what no team has done in nearly 40 years.

At the beginning of the season pundits thought this team had a chance to win the National Championship.

Ten games into the season the narrative had changed to UK’s chances of going undefeated.

Twenty games in it turned into whether or not anyone could beat the Cats.

Now, after they glided over their last remaining bump in the road, the Cats’ season will be a disappointment if they incur a blemish on their record.

Most teams in the nation have one thing they’re very good at, and they rely on that specialty to win – Gonzaga has offensive prowess, Duke is very strong in the post, Virginia locks down their opponents defensively.

But UK doesn’t have a specialty, it just does everything well.

During a time when every other tournament team is getting their specialty tuned for March, UK is left attempting to round out other ways to beat their opponents.

UK head coach John Calipari even said after the game Saturday he just wants the regular season to be over already.

And as if his team needed another go-to player, freshman forward Trey Lyles has jumped into the spotlight as a primary scoring option in the last two games.

Lyles wasn’t exactly in the shadows to begin with, but against Mississippi State Wednesday and against Arkansas Saturday he’s been a completely different player, and he’s given the Cats an improved identity.

Yes, the team that looked like it couldn’t get any better three games ago when it scored 110 against Auburn has, in fact, gotten better.

Calipari makes his money developing the young players he accumulates.

However, by the ends of the last six seasons he’s coached at UK, he’s brought only a couple of players from each team to their full potential while the others remained very talented role players.

But with the emergence of Lyles this season, all four freshman look to have reached their full potential.

So theoretically the Cats should be the best they can be now, but that’s what we thought three games ago too.