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Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Is Kentucky Basketball Really Better Than Them All?

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Kentucky and Duke both have nine McDonald’s All-Americans. Kentucky and Duke are believed to be the best two teams right now, with Arizona and Louisville possibly in the mix. Some will include Wisconsin, but Duke has already beaten them on Wisconsin’s home floor. Many feel there is a wide margin between Duke and Kentucky. They feel there is Kentucky, then Duke and the rest. I wonder.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

According to Kenpom.com, Kentucky and Duke are #1 & #2, followed by Virginia and Louisville at #3 & #4. Villanova is #6 and Arizona is #8 in the Pomeroy ratings. You have to go deep in his rankings to find another undefeated team: #35 Washington. Other undefeated teams are #38 Northern Iowa, #51 Seton Hall, #58 TCU, #70 Colorado St. and, #193 Incarnate Word. The A/P poll for this week has Kentucky and Duke in the top two spots with Arizona and Louisville next. Kentucky's next major foe is #21 North Carolina.

Will the NCAA selection committee put Duke and Kentucky in the same bracket or will they put the two in brackets where they could meet in the national championship game?  If they're placed in the same bracket, one will have to be a two seed. That just doesn't seem to make much sense to me.  I don't expect either team to enter the tournament undefeated, but it would make matters much easier in terms of seeding.

Let's take a look at the remaining schedule of the schools I mentioned above:

Kentucky Wildcats (9-0)- The Wildcats, as you know, beat #5 (at the time) Kansas 72-40 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Kentucky has beaten Providence 58-38 and #7 Texas 63-51 at home. Louisville will be our first road game.

The remaining December schedule:

12/10 - Columbia

12/13 - North Carolina

12/20 - UCLA @ United Center, Chicago

12/27 - @ Louisville

Duke Blue Devils - The Blue Devils have played Michigan State, Temple, Stanford and Wisconsin. Michigan St. was ranked #19 in the A/P Poll when Duke beat them 81-71 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. the Duke beat Temple 74-54 and beat Stanford 70-59 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They have a 3-0 record at neutral sites. They also went on the road and beat Wisconsin 80-70 in Madison.

The remaining December schedule:

12/15 - Elon

12/18 - Connecticut - @ Izod Center, East Rutherford, NJ

12/29 - Toledo

12/31 - Wofford

Virginia Cavaliers - The Cavaliers beat Rutgers 45-26 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and followed that up with a 76-65 win over Maryland at the Xfinity Center in Philadelphia.

The remaining December schedule:

12/18 - Cleveland State

12/21 - Harvard

12/30 - Davidson

Louisville Cardinals -  The Cards began their season in Puerto Rico at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Borinquen by beating Richard Pitino's Minnesota Gophers 81-68.  They also beat Ohio St. in a rare road trip for the Buckeyes 64-55 in the Chicken Bucket. Louisville, like Kentucky hasn't taken that first road trip.

The remaining December schedule:

12/09 - Indiana @ Madison Square Garden

12/14 - North Carolina-Wilmington

12/20 - @ WKU

12/23 - Cal State Northridge

12/27 - Kentucky

12/30 - Long Beach State

Villanova Wildcats (8-0) - The first big test for the Wildcats was Michigan at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Nova beat the Wolverines 60-55. They've not faced a major opponent either at home or on the road.

The remaining December schedule:

12/09 - Illinois @ Madison Square Garden

12/14 - Temple

12/20 - Syracuse @ Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia

12/23 - New Jersey Technical Institute

12/31 - Butler

Arizona Wildcats (8-0) - Arizona has only played one road game and that was against San Diego State. It was a close one with the Wildcats taking a 61-59 win. They have, however, beaten Missouri 72-53 and Kansas St. 72-68 in the Maui Invitational and Gonzaga 66-63 at home.

The remaining December schedule:

12/09 - Utah Valley St.

12/13 - Michigan

12/16 - Oakland

12/19 - @ UTEP

12/23 - @ UNLV

Kentucky looks to be the best if you've seen them play. They've thumped Kansas and won the battle of the bigs when Texas came to town. When Kentucky beat Kansas, they were ranked 5th in the A/P poll and when Kentucky beat Texas, the Longhorns were ranked 7th.

One thing I've noticed is that The Four Factors don't show how good Kentucky is. I've taken the liberty of showing the Four Factors for the A/P Top 10 and future opponents. Oh yeah, I also included Indiana for good measure.

Four Factors 12/9

Because of all the cupcakes each teams play during November and December, I don't think the Four Factors adequately show a team's strengths or weaknesses. I also think that the NCAA stats at this time of the year don't do any team justice. As you are probably aware, Kentucky ranks 1st in scoring defense and scoring margin. The Cats are second in blocks (before the EKU game).

Perhaps, the RPI is the true indicator at this point. Kentucky ranks #2 behind Green Bay. Really?  Green Bay? Yup. Green Bay. Duke is 3rd and.... Go here for the rest (NCAA site).

While I like the Four Factors as a post-game measure, I'm not sure how you measure exactly how you can determine which team is best. Any ideas? Or, do we have to wait under the Big Dance is finished. What say you?