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Silver lining for Wildcats

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The dark cloud that hung over Kentucky following Nerlens Noel's season-ending knee injury has given way to a silver lining in the form of a modest two-game winning streak.

The initial forecast wasn't encouraging after the Wildcats (19-8, 10-4 Southeastern Conference) were drilled at Tennessee in their first game without their defensive anchor 10 days ago. But they've boosted their NCAA tournament prospects with back-to-back wins over Vanderbilt and Missouri behind the play of Julius Mayes and Willie Cauley-Stein.

As a team, they Wildcats have displayed the precision, communication and dedication coach John Calipari has sought all season.

Still, Kentucky can't overlook last-place Mississippi State (7-19, 2-12) on Wednesday night. A loss to the struggling Bulldogs - who have lost 12 straight - would be a devastating setback.

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