Final Four: Kentucky, Michigan St., Connecticut, Oklahoma
A No.4 seed entering the bracket, Kentucky is getting little love considering they are coming off a red hot streak of five straight wins in the SEC tournament. It’s not hard to imagine they can carry over that same result for the national title with veteran coach John Calipari under helm. Let’s not forget they were the preseason one seed, so there is a lingering talent that March Madness might reveal in the team. Every championship team in the last decade has produced at least a couple players who go in the first round of the NBA Draft, and many of the top high-seeded teams don’t have these stars. Kentucky is no exception to this pattern with playmakers in Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis, who both average just under 20 points per game (about ¾ of the team’s overall points). When the time calls, these are the guys a team can only wish for to take the game-winning three. This is also a major reason why I can’t see Oklahoma and Connecticut taking the title. March Madness requires extreme focus and maturity that most teams lack, including these two schools with a very young core. The most difficult thing to buy into is the rigorous opponents Kentucky will be facing. If things progress how they’re supposed to in the tournament (like that’s ever happened), the Wildcats will find themselves winding up against no.1 North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen. That’s not the kind of challenge you want to take on so early, and could be the downfall of the national champion hopeful. On the other hand, there has never been a no.16 seed that has more potential to upset UNC than Florida Gulf Coast; A huge upset there would almost propel Kentucky into the elite eight. Whatever the situation ends up being, I see a bright March for the Wildcats that most people seem to skip over considering their veteran coaching, current hot streak, playmakers, and underdog drive. Don’t skip over their name when making your brackets Cats!