Cats back on top

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

For the first time since March 18, 2003, the Kentucky Wildcats are the top-ranked team in the land.

For the first time since March 18, 2003, the Kentucky Wildcats are the top-ranked team in the land.

Thanks to a 31-point blowout of Arkansas on Saturday, the Cats vaulted to the top of the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll and the Associated Press poll, receiving 31 votes in the coaches' poll and all 65 first-place ballots from the AP.

The Cats replace Texas at the top spot.  The Longhorns now have lost two games in-a-row.  ESPN analyst Bob Knight thinks the Cats are better equpiped to stay number one longer than the 'Horns.

" I don't think Texas was ready to be number one and I think Kentucky will be," Knight said.  "The idea is this is what we were trying to do.  Let's stay here.  I think Kentucky will be better at that than Texas was."

The last time the Cats were ranked #1 in both polls, Tubby Smith was filling out his starting lineup with Daniels, Hays, Fitch, Estill and Bogans.

Kentucky defeated Mississippi State in the finals of the SEC Tournament in 2003, heading into the NCAA Tournament as the nation's number one team, where the Cats throttled IUPUI in the first round (95-64), Utah in the second (74-54), Wisconsin in the regional semifinal (63-57), before losing to Marquette and Dwyane Wade in the regional final (83-69).

The turnaround in 2009-10 is remarkable.

Given last year's squad slogged its way to a 22-14 record and a birth in the NIT, this year's run to number one has been impressive.  The Cats are undefeated in 19 starts, the best since 1966, and entertain hopes of finishing the regular season undefeated.

Making the feat even more spectacular is that three of UK's starters are true freshmen, albeit, they make up part of what some called the greatest recruiting class ever.  Now, Cat fans are seeing the fruits of John Calipari's recruiting efforts.

UK takes its #1 ranking to South Carolina on Tuesday night.  The Cats have lost two straight to USC, coached by former Tates Creek and Western Kentucky grad, Darrin Horn.


We love our Cousins in Kentucky

For the second time this season, UK forward DeMarcus Cousins has been selected the SEC Freshman of the Week.  It marks the eighth time in 11 weeks that a Wildcat has won the award. 

The big man from Mobile recorded his tenth double-double of the season against Arkansas on Saturday, scoring 16 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. in only 17 minutes of action.  Cousins also lost two teeth in UK's 101-70 beatdown of the Hogs.

Cousins now is just one double-double shy of tying Chris Mills for the UK freshman record.

Cousins has started all 19 games for the Cats and is averaging 15.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.  Those are startling numbers if you consider Cousins averages just 20 minutes per game.

If we extrapolate the numbers, at 40 minutes Cousins would average an eye-popping 30.4 points and 18.9 rebounds per game.

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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