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Nine year old Tyler Boggs on the jumbo screen at Rupp Arena

Boggs’ Bracket Bleeds Blue

March 15, 2023

When it comes to the biggest Kentucky fans in the country, I would put myself in the top of that conversation. Through my 18 years of being on this earth, I still to this day have not missed a single game. From the old days with Tubby Smith, to the dark days with Billy Gillispe and the glory days with Cal, I’ve bled blue through it all.

This team reminds me of the old 2013-2014 year with Julius Randle and the Harrison twins coming in the tournament as an eight seed. After a very overwhelming regular season and coming in as the preseason #1 team in the country, this 2023 team relates to them coming as the preseason #4 team. Both teams struggled early in the year but came around towards the end. The 2013-2014 team ended up making one of the most memorable runs in March Madness history by making it to the National Championship game.

After a very up and down regular season, the Cats came out at the #23 team in the country with a record of 21-10 (12-6 in SEC play). As SEC play started, losing to a terrible South Carolina team and getting smoked at Alabama, it looked like one of the darkest times as a UK fan in my career. Since then it has drastically changed; Cal has turned it all around with great wins against Tennessee twice, at Texas A&M, a 32 point win against Auburn and a hard-fought win at Arkansas. The Cats finished 11-4 in their last 15 games.

With point guard Cason Wallace missing the last few games of the season, the team was without its main leader. He averaged 12 points per game and four assists. Wallace, known for his defensive presence, is also averaging two  steals per game. The team hopes to have him back by tournament time.

Last year’s Naismith National Player of the Year, Oscar Tshiebwe, ended the regular season averaging 16.4 points per game and 13.1 rebounds per game. He was a huge reason for the Cat’s success. Tshiebwe is not only averaging a double-double but he’s also breaking records in the process. He is leading the country for the second straight year with 13.1 rebounds per game to go along with a team best 16.4 points per game. To go along with that, he has the second most double-doubles in UK history.

The team has four double digit scorers with their starters playing the majority of the minutes. One of them, the Illinois State transfer, Antonio Reeves, who has lit it up without Wallace in the lineup. In the final game of the season against Arkansas, Reeves dropped 37 points while averaging 14.2 points per game on the year.

I am quite confident that the Cats will earn around a 5-7 seed in the tournament. The competition in the NCAA is rough and it seems that the championship can go to anyone. I believe the Cats, with the help of Cal’s coaching, will make a Final Four appearance. The combination of having one of the best guard/big man duo will be the difference in our championship run in March.

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