So what do you think?

From what I have read online, it looks like the Big Blue Nation is taking the eight seed in stride (but not without considerable pessimism).  I think most people had us slated for a nine on the low end and a seven on the high end, and guess what - that's what happened!

I am seeing a lot of griping about Duke's #6 seed, and I think that is justified.  Duke's body of work simply doesn't justify a higher seed than, say, Indiana or Nevada.  That's my opinion, and your mileage may vary.

But back to Kentucky.  We are matched up against a solid Villanova team in the first round.  Villanova is what Tubby Smith wants UK to be - an excellent defensive team.  Villanova will be in the Wildcat's faces for the whole 40 minutes.  Unfortunately, they are similar to UK offensively - capable of outstanding offensive production, but incapable of consistency.  Like UK, 'Nova can go on long scoring droughts, and also like UK, has a proven ability to come back from large deficits.

Both Wildcat teams like to to control the tempo.  Unlike Kentucky, 'Nova wants that tempo to be fast.  Villanova has a +.42 correlation of pace to offensive efficiency, which means that their offense is more efficient at a higher pace in a statistically significant number of games.  The Villanova 'Cats are 16-1 when scoring 70 or more points.  Kentucky, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be any more efficient offensively at a fast pace than a slow one.

Last year, if you remember, Villanova was a #1 seed and lost to Florida in the Elite Eight.  This year's version of Villanova has more size, but less skill than last year's team.  UK and 'Nova have several common opponents, including College of Charleston, DePaul, and Louisville.  'Nova was 1-1 against DePaul, 1-0 against Louisville and 1-0 against Charleston.  Kentucky defeated all three as well.

This has the promise of an excellent match up.  UK should have an advantage inside with Morris, but Curtis Sumpter is no slouch and Villanova has better overall team chemistry and experience, starting 3 seniors, a sophomore and a freshman.

We'll have lots more on this game later.

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