Kentucky isn’t having a season up to its usual standards. The Wildcats have already lost 10 games, including eight during SEC play, the most they’ve had during their conference schedule since 2008-09, the year before John Calipari took over as coach.
But that doesn’t mean it’s too late for Kentucky to turn 2017-18 into a successful season.
The Wildcats will still be playing in the NCAA Tournament, and according to ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, one player will be the key to their success — freshman forward Kevin Knox.
“Kevin Knox has got to be their star,” Bilas said during a teleconference on Tuesday afternoon. “He has to be good, and he has to be consistently good throughout the course of the tournament. I don’t think they’re going to win at the highest level with him just having average games.”
Knox earned co-SEC Freshman of the Year honors on Tuesday. More accolades could be coming for the Wildcats forward if he can power his team to a deep NCAA Tournament run.
Some years, there are powerhouse teams heavily favored to win the NCAA Tournament. But Bilas said he doesn’t believe that’s the case this year, which could bode well for Kentucky’s chances to rebound from a subpar regular season.
“They’re still capable,” Bilas said. “This is a year where the best teams are the best because they’ve been consistent, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be beaten.”