The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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Beyond the Bison: 14-seed Oakland shocks 3-seed Kentucky

Evelyn+Pierce%2C+Graphics+Manager+%2F+The+Bucknellian
Evelyn Pierce, Graphics Manager / The Bucknellian

March Madness is officially back, the greatest few weeks the sports calendar has to offer. Known for upsets, excitement and moments that turn players no one has ever heard of into household names.

The Kentucky Wildcats came into the tournament as a 3-seed and were a pretty popular pick to win the national championship among the public. They had elite guards, Antonio Reeves and Rob Dillingham, the best shooter in the country in Reed Sheppard and veteran leadership in Tre Mitchell.

The main issue that surrounded this team was its age— they were very young. Five of the squad’s eight key rotation guys are freshmen, which doesn’t bode well in March.

John Calipari, head coach of the Wildcats, is also sitting on a pretty warm seat. Since 2021, the Cats only have a singular tournament win. This 1-4 record includes a loss to 15-seed St. Peter’s in 2022. Many thought Calipari needed to bring his team back to a deep tournament run, or his job could be on the line.

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And well, his seat just got a little warmer, as Kentucky fell to 14-seed Oakland 80-76.

If you haven’t heard the name Jack Gohlke yet, that’s just about as impressive as his performance on March 21.

The fifth-year senior transfer from D-II Hillsdale College propelled his team to a win behind 32 points and 10 3-pointers. All 20 of his shots came from outside the perimeter for that matter. Gohlke’s 10 3-pointer makes gave him the 3rd highest amount of three-point shots made in an NCAA Tournament game in history, and kept his team in the mix when Kentucky made their runs on the way back.

Senior Trey Townsend was also a big contributor for Oakland, going for 17 points and 12 rebounds on 6-15 shooting.

For Kentucky, I think their age and inexperience in the tournament really threw them off here.

Reed Sheppard, the nation’s best three-point shooter statistically, was held to 3 points on 1-5 shooting. Freshman guard DJ Wagner went 0-5 from the field, and freshman point guard Rob Dillingham shot 2-9 from the field for 10 points. 

The vets for the Cats played well. Antonio Reeves went for 27 points on 11-18 shooting, while Tre Mitchell went for 14 points and 13 rebounds. That’s where the inexperience bug comes into effect in March. Those two vets for Kentucky, Mitchell and Reeves, combined for 41 points. The five freshmen that played double-digit minutes for the Wildcats, combined for 26 points.

The age of landing the top recruits and finding success off of that is out in college basketball, it’s all about the transfer portal and getting as old as you can.

So, we’ll see how Calipari handles this offseason as his seat keeps getting hotter.

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Hugh Straine, Sports Co-Editor

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