You know that I don't have a vast quantity of respect for Gary Parrish, and the reason is not that he isn't any good at his job. It's more because of his cheap shot at Anthony Davis last year than anything else, but there are other things, too.
With all that said, Gary Parish has a piece today that makes a powerful argument for why Kentucky should be considered a favorite to repeat next year as NCAA Tournament champion:
I'd still vote Kentucky No. 1 in the preseason.
Because talent typically triumphs over all in college basketball.
That reputable site, [DraftExpress.com] run by Jonathan Givony, has at the moment four Wildcats projected among the top 23 picks of the 2013 NBA Draft, while there aren't even two Cardinals or two Hoosiers listed among the top 30. Yes, Indiana's Cody Zeller is projected third. And Louisville's Wayne Blackshear is projected 25th. But Kentucky has Nerlens Noel projected first, Alex Poythress at seventh, Archie Goodwin ninth and Ryan Harrow 23rd. And though it's impossible on some level to predict such things more than a year in advance, the projections are the projections, and the projection at DraftExpress.com makes it clear Kentucky has more future NBA picks than any other school.[Emphasis mine.]
That, folks, is a fairly convincing argument. Right there is just about the only excuse you will need to consider how dangerous next year's Kentucky Wildcats team will be ... on paper.
I use the term "on paper" advisedly, because you never know if this new version of the Wildcats will have the desire to share the glory like last year's team did. You hope they will (and so do I), because we all hope Calipari is selective about these guys. One glory hog could destroy a team as surely as an insidious virus can destroy your hard drive.
However, I think we have to give Coach Cal the benefit of the doubt here. Last year's team wasn't unselfish by instinct, they were unselfish because Calipari convinced them that unselfishness would lead to individual greatness, and he was right in spades. What that does is give him a monumental example to use on future classes, and don't think for a minute he will hesitate to do so.
Parrish is right -- talent trumps all. It trumps experience. It trumps depth. It trumps everything given the conditions that Calipari taught his team last year, and Parrish knows, just like I do, that next years team will be the most talented in the nation per minute played.
Now, I'm not necessarily sanguine about Kentucky repeating, but I do know this -- they will get a turn at bat, and when they do, they will be the most talented team. Whether or not they will be the best team is something the rest of the year will determine.