The Outlook For 1951-52
Sages and dopesters from time immemorial have been improving their prediction averages by following a time-proven adage of "sticking with the winning combination" and when it came to basketball in recent years that generally meant Baron Adolph Rupp and his Kentucky Wildcats.
This season could be a different story, however, despite the apparent strength of a veteran combination backed up by several promising freshmen.
The defending national collegiate titlists, who gave the nation's cage teams a new mark at which to shoot by becoming the first three-time tournament winner in NCAA history last March, will present a balanced roster listing four seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and ten freshmen. Only losses from the team that amassed a season record of 32 victories against two defeats were captain Walt Hirsch, who was ineligible to play in the NCAA tourney due to the four-year rule, and substitute center Roger Layne.
While the squad looks like a world beater on paper, the experts point out that Kentucky will be without the services of its All-American center, seven foot Bill Spivey, for at least the first month of the season and possibly for the entire campaign. The Georgia Pine, most valuable cage player in the nation last year and number one man on everybody's "all" teams, injured a knee while the club as making a movie for clinic demonstrations and underwent an operation in mid-October for removal of a torn cartilege.
Still on crutches and unable to put any appreciable weight on the knee at season's start, Spivey posed Coach Rupp the biggest problem in 1 951-52 plans. It appeared that "Grits" would not be ready for action before mid-January at the earliest. Rupp said there is "a real possibility" that Spivey would be held out the remainder of the season rather than risk further injury by premature action and to preserve a full season's eligibility.