UK Men's Basketball

Should Kentucky fans be more optimistic or worried about the Cats?

Malik Monk’s offensive explosiveness makes Kentucky dangerous to any foe it could face in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
Malik Monk’s offensive explosiveness makes Kentucky dangerous to any foe it could face in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. palcala@herald-leader.com

Fast-break points from the “La La Land” victory part …

21. Why UK fans should feel optimistic: With Malik Monk capable of detonating an offensive bunker buster on any foe, there’s not a team that will be in the 2017 NCAA Tournament the Cats can’t beat.

20. Why UK fans should worry: John Calipari’s Wildcats (24-5, 14-2 SEC) have two signature victories — North Carolina and Florida — and it took Monk scoring 47 points to secure the former and 30 in the second half to claim the latter.

19. Why UK fans should feel optimistic: The Bam Adebayo of last week — a combined 40 points and 30 rebounds in wins over Missouri and Florida — gives Kentucky a whole other dimension.

18. Why UK fans should worry: Wildcats’ opponents have shot better than 50 percent in the second half seven times in the past 10 games. That’s not the defensive profile of a team built to go deep in March.

17. A vintage Kentucky Senior Night. When Vanderbilt visits Rupp Arena on Tuesday at 9 p.m., UK will say farewell to a Calipari-era rarity — a three-player senior class of contributors.

16. Dominique Hawkins’ best UK moment. Last season, the ex-Madison Central star scored 13 points — including Kentucky’s last five — in a tense 75-73 win over archrival Louisville.

Kentucky senior Dominique Hawkins talks about his four years as a Wildcat leading up to Tuesday's Senior Night game against Vanderbilt.

15. Mychal Mulder’s best UK moment. The junior-college transfer buried a trio of three-pointers to help Kentucky escape with an 82-77 win at Georgia on Feb. 18.

Senior Mychal Mulder talks about his time at Kentucky in advance of Tuesday's Senior Night game against Vanderbilt.

14. Derek Willis’ best UK moment. In last year’s SEC Tournament finals, the former Bullitt East star hit a trey with 1:10 left in overtime to put the Wildcats ahead to stay in an 82-77 win over Texas A&M.

Kentucky senior Derek Willis talks about his four years as a Wildcat in advance of Senior Night on Tuesday against Vanderbilt.

13. The four most memorable UK Senior Days. From the Rupp Arena era.

12. 1978. The departing senior class of Jack Givens, James Lee, Mike Phillips and Rick Robey put on a dunking exhibition — eight slams — and ran UNLV’s Runnin’ Rebels out of Rupp Arena, 92-70.

11. 1986. After a 68-57 victory over LSU was secure, Kentucky Coach Eddie Sutton removed senior star Kenny Walker so he could hear a final Rupp Arena ovation. LSU head man Dale Brown walked all the way down to the UK bench to shake Walker’s hand.

10. 1992. In-state seniors Richie Farmer (Clay County), Deron Feldhaus (Mason County) and John Pelphrey (Paintsville) scored all but two points in a late 18-6 run that secured a 99-88 win over Tennessee in what was the final Kentucky home game called by iconic UK radio play-by-play announcer Cawood Ledford.

9. 2008. Billy Gillispie’s first Senior Day as UK coach was a good one. Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo was a surprise guest to present framed UK jerseys to his former Kentucky classmates, Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley. With Bradley and Crawford then leading the way, UK snapped a seven-game losing streak to Florida, 75-70.

8. “Boogie Man?” With the addition of the new giant video and ribbon boards in Rupp Arena this season, the game presentation for Wildcats home contests has been substantially revamped.

7. No “Mony Mony.” Once a Rupp staple, the 1968 hit by Tommy James and the Shondells has been absent this season.

6. Darren Moscoe. That’s meant no dancing for UK fan Moscoe, the Rupp Arena “Boogie Man” known for his exuberant dancing to “Mony Mony.”

5. The fall. Moscoe’s Rupp dancing took an unhappy turn late last season when he picked up a 10-year-old girl, then tried to slide down the rail in the arena aisle with the child in tow. Moscoe lost his balance and fell on top of the girl. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

4. Dancing restrictions. After the spill, arena officials had no choice but to ban anyone from leaving their seats to dance in the Rupp aisles.

3. Peer pressure. Moscoe, 52, said Sunday he thinks he let other UK fans telling him he needed to do more to keep his dances interesting goad him into trying something he shouldn’t have.

2. Remarkable back story. Darren Moscoe’s story is much more than his dancing. A successful brain surgery in 1994 ended what had been a lifetime of debilitating seizures and allowed him a radically different life.

1. Still backing the Cats. Darren says he still comes to UK home games when he can get tickets. “And I’ll be going to the SEC Tournament,” he says.

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