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Kentucky Smashes Kansas, Puts SEC on Notice

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Good luck to, well, anyone in trying to beat the 'Cats.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas is almost certainly going to be one of the best teams in college basketball this year despite losing a pair of high draft picks. The Jayhawks are a good bet to win the Big 12 and probably won't end up lower than a 3-seed.

Kentucky didn't care about all that last night. The Wildcats laid waste to KU to the tune of 72-40 in Indianapolis. Kansas managed just 12 (!) points after halftime. The Jayhawks had an 11-3 run to pull within 10 in the three minutes leading into halftime, and that represented more than a quarter of their points for the entire game.

The Wildcat defense was simply smothering all night. It finished with 11 blocks, including four each for Marcus Lee and freshman Karl-Anthony Towns. KU shot just 19.6% from the floor and 20% from three. It was as complete a defensive performance as you're going to see, given how good Kansas is. The Jayhawks might score 40 in a few halves this year, but they won't score just 40 in a game again.

David Ubben mused that UK might hold one of the worst SEC teams to under 20 this year. That would be extreme, but honestly, I can't rule it out entirely. No real comparison comes to mind for the size, length, and athleticism that was on display last night. For those who are just starting to look at basketball, the Wildcats' rotation only has one player in it—5'9" Tyler Ulis—who is shorter than 6'6". John Calipari's bunch will have a decided physical advantage against every team it plays this season.

It's far too early to talk about Kentucky going undefeated for the whole year. KU didn't play to the best of its ability, and UK might have just played its best game. These are young players, and you never know what can happen. Besides, the non-conference slate alone still has Texas, UNC, and Louisville to go. "Will the Wildcats ever lose?" is a 2015 story, if it is one at all.

Going undefeated in the conference, though, is another story. UK still has to play Florida twice, but the Gators turned over the core of their team and just lost at home to Miami (albeit without Dorian Finney-Smith, whose injured wrist will be fine by conference play). It's difficult to envision this UK team doing things that last year's did, like drop games to LSU, Arkansas, and South Carolina. Of course, it wasn't easy last year either. That's why they play the games.

In the meantime, it's both a terrible and awesome sight to see this Kentucky outfit play. The SEC is presumed to belong to Big Blue until further notice.