It was hyped as the first time, and possibly the last time, Kentucky's Malik Monk, an Arkansas native, would play against the school from which his older brother graduated. And the home-state school that recruited him intensely but lost.
Would Monk go for 25?
Answer: None of the above. The big-scoring freshman finished with just 12 points on 10 shots Saturday and was mostly a non-factor. But the Wildcats won anyway. Easily. Final score: Kentucky 97, Arkansas 71.
Here are three takeaways from UK's 13th victory:
1. Malik Monk wasn't good and it didn't matter
Monk took 10 shots and missed six of them. And he missed all five of his 3-point attempts while finishing with 12 points and four fouls. It's the lowest point-total Monk has had all season. And Kentucky still won by 26. Afterward, everybody on both sides downplayed everything. But you know Monk wanted to be great against Arkansas. And he wasn't. But, again, it didn't matter even a little as it pertains to the outcome of this game.
2. De'Aaron Fox was awesome
Monk has received most of the attention at UK this season because he's a great jumper, and because he finished with 47 points in the CBS Sports Classic against North Carolina. But Fox is probably the MVP of this team. The freshman point guard finished with 27 points, six assists and six rebounds against Arkansas. He's now averaging 16.3 points, 6.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds through 15 games.
3. Kentucky is going to run away with the SEC
Nobody in the SEC, with the possible exception of Florida, is in the same ballpark as Kentucky. And even if Florida is legit, UK will win the SEC by multiple games.
This isn't exactly what John Calipari used to do to C-USA while at Memphis.
But it's close.
He's out-recruited the league to the point that he's now physically overwhelming the league. Again, Kentucky's leading scorer scored fewer points than he's scored all season. And Kentucky still ran Arkansas completely off of the court.
My prediction: UK goes 17-1 in the SEC, wins the SEC Tournament and has a 31-3 record on Selection Sunday. That'll deliver a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. And then Calipari's second national title will be within reach.