Most wins since 2005? If UK can beat N. Dame

From the pessimist's point of view, just how far has the Kentucky program fallen where we are celebrating a possible 23rd win--with three of the wins in the NIT? But from an optimist's point of view, the 23 wins--if Kentucky can defeat Notre Dame--would represent the most victories the Cats have managed since a 28-6 record during the 2004-05 season.

Yes, the Cats have lost 13 games--for the fourth consecutive year, double digit losses have plagued the Wildcats.

Yes, unless the Wildcats win the NIT, they will match the most losses they have had since the 1989-00 season UK was on probation--Rick Pitino's first season, a 14-14 record.

But can this represent a step back to where UK belongs? Maybe a baby step forward after so many leaps backward?

While the opponents Kentucky has played in the NIT have not been top 25 squads, underestimating the opponent is unwise. The win by Kentucky last night involved a road game in front of nearly 17,000 crazed fans in Omaha, enthusiastically cheering their 27-win Creighton team who had won 12 of its last 13 ballgames.

Make that 12 of its last 14.

And although Kentucky is playing in the lesser tournament, pejoratively known as the "Not Invited" Tournament, at least they are still playing.

That's something that SEC regular season champion LSU, SEC Eastern Division Champion Tennessee, and SEC tournament champion Mississippi State would like to be saying right now. In fact, only the Gators from Gainesville, Billy Donovan's squad, and the surprising Auburn Tigers are still alive in postseason play along with Kentucky.

For Kentucky to get win # 23, they will have to defeat Big East foe Notre Dame (20-14) in what will be yet another road contest. The Fighting Irish have won four of their last five contests, including both home outings in the NIT against UAB and New Mexico. Kentucky has not faced Notre Dame since 2004, but has won the last nine games against the Irish. Not since the 1989-90 probation season have we seen a Notre Dame team defeat the Kentucky Wildcats.

But times haven't been as tough as they are now for Kentucky.

Or are we seeing the times get better before our eyes?

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