While there is no dominant team in college basketball this season, a team that voters almost unanimously selected as the No. 1 team should have the skill and resolve to beat the team that was projected to finish eight in the Missouri Valley Conference. Considering UK was a 25-point favorite, this was the third-largest betting upset in the past 15 seasons in a game between two Division I programs.
Any time Kentucky falls, a not-so-small section of the Kansas basketball fan base lets out a little cheer. Senior guard K.J. Riley led the Purple Aces with a game-high 18 points.
When they returned to campus, the Purple Aces were greeted by hundreds of students.
Walter McCarty may have to step up to deliver a party for his players. How many coaches beat the No. 1 team on the road with a mid-major team - particularly when that team is your alma mater?
"To be able to come back home and play against the No. 1 team in the country, and be able to perform the way that we did", the 45-year-old continued, "I don't know if anything matches this, other than winning the national championship". Even after they managed to tie and take a brief lead, they were beaten to loose balls and could never get over the hump.
One bettor placed a $900 wager during the game that Kentucky would win.
This will be the first ever meeting between Kentucky and Evansville. It didn't help Maxey that the Wildcats had nearly zero inside scoring presence against an underwhelming mid-major frontcourt. Sophomore guard Ashton Hagans had a productive all-around game for the Wildcats as he pitched in 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Evansville made nine of 30 3-point attempts while shooting 38% from the field to Kentucky's 37%. They are already struggling in their first game as No. 1. They're coming off an 11-21 season past year.
Early in the second half, Evansville maintained its lead before Kentucky assembled an 11-2 run to take a 48-46 advantage with 11:17 to play.
"We just believed and trusted each other and made plays for each other". They play Georgia Tech, Utah, Ohio State and Louisville in December.