UK Notebook: Cats ranked No 4 in AP poll; Square honored

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Kentucky’s basketball team will open the season as one of the top-ranked teams in the nation.

The Wildcats made their debut at No. 4 in the first Associated Press Top 25 men’s basketball poll released Monday. It marked the 13th time in the past 14 seasons under John Calipari that Kentucky is ranked in the top 10.

North Carolina, the defending national runner-up, opened the season at No. 1, followed by Gonzaga, Houston, Kentucky and defending national champion Kansas, which tied Baylor at No. 5

Eight of Kentucky’s opponents are ranked, including Gonzaga (No. 2), Kansas (No. 5), UCLA (8), Arkansas (10), Tennessee (11), Auburn (15), Alabama (20) and Michigan at No. 22.

North Carolina coach Hubert Davis said the Tar Heels are taking the same approach as last season, but with added pressure.

“The only difference this year is the outside noise,” Davis told the Associated Press. “Last year, the outside noise didn’t think we had a chance. The outside noise this year thinks we do.”

Football: Square honored

For the first time this year, Kentucky senior DeAndre Square was honored by the Southeastern Conference.

Square was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week following his performance in the Wildcats’ 27-17 win over Mississippi State on Saturday. He shared the award with Arkansas safety Hudson Clark.

Square had a clutch interception with 4:01 remaining that sealed the deal for the Wildcats. Square finished with 11 tackles as Kentucky limited Mississippi State to just 225 total yards, including 22 yards on the ground.

“I knew something was gonna happen,” Square said. “We just worked so hard this week and we put a lot into this week. I mean, we do every week, but we emphasized a lot of things and we weren’t letting that game get away, you know? We really wanted this one. I just knew something special was going to happen.”

Anchored by Square, Bulldogs coach Mike Leach said Kentucky’s defense was the difference in the game.

“We would try to play slow then get frantic and try to make too much happen,” he said. “As a result, a fine job on the part of the University of Kentucky, I wish that we had played better and put our best foot forward, and part of that is that Kentucky kept us frustrated and they beat us.”

Game time set

Kentucky’s game at No. 3 Tennessee on Oct. 29 is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN. The Wildcats moved up three spots to 19th in this week’s AP Top 25 poll.