Mar 11, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari during the second half of the finals of the 2012 SEC Tournament against the Vanderbilt Commodores at the New Orleans Arena. Vanderbilt defeated Kentucky 71-64. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-US PRESSWIRE

NCAA Tournament 2012: Why Kentucky Won’t Win It All


There seems to be a consensus out there that Kentucky is the best team in the nation and should win the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

I’m not buying it.

Could the reason for all this hype be their gaudy 32-2 record?

Maybe. But, Syracuse was not worshipped in the same manner even prior to the school’s untimely suspension of Fab Melo for some sort of academic violation.

Syracuse is 31-2 and was the first school in the history of the Big East to finish the regular season with only one loss. But, I didn’t hear people declaring them the hands-down best team in the country.

Maybe the masses are infatuated by the exciting young talent that Kentucky possesses. This I can understand. However, when was the last time a team won the championship while starting three true freshmen?

Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are tremendous young players, but neither has proven capable of taking over a game on the offensive end in a big spot against top-notch competition. Freshman point guard Marquis Teague has been, well, a freshman. And not the same caliber of freshman as a Derrick Rose, John Wall, or even a Brandon Knight.

But wait, Kentucky does have a super talented sophomore in Terrence Jones and a steady senior leader in Darius Miller.

Unfortunately, Jones has really only shown us that he cannot be counted on. This season, it has been a plus for Kentucky when Jones has played well enough to deserve to be on the court in crunch time. Miller has done a solid job of playing his role. He has made big shots at times, made crucial plays at others, but he is essentially a role player.

Yes, Kentucky looked very impressive as they blew through the SEC, completing an undefeated regular season. But, this was not the strongest of years for the Southeastern Conference. It was not a top three conference and if you take Kentucky out, the league was likely suspect. The second best team in the SEC – Vanderbilt – is a 5 seed. The third best – Florida – is a 7 seed.

So, while Kentucky’s dominance of the SEC was surely a noteworthy accomplishment, it does not make them one of the best college teams we have seen in years, as some have hyperbolized.

Maybe the media is simply setting up the controversial John Calipari to fail. It has become dizzying media fodder whether Calipari will finally win the big one, whether his “one and done” recruiting “philosophy” can indeed produce a champion. My contention is that it cannot, at least in most years including this year.

By now, you might think that I’m a Kentucky hater. I’m not. I am a hater of false expectations and media hype.

This Kentucky team is a very good, very exciting team certainly capable of making a deep run (I have them in my Final Four). However, the contention that the 2012 NCAA Tournament is Kentucky’s tournament to win is misguided and unfair.

 

What are your thoughts on the Kentucky Wildcats?

 

Will Kentucky Be This Year's National Champion?

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Tags: College Basketball College Hoops Kentucky Wildcats March Madness Ncaa Tournament Sec Basketball

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