Kelenna Azubuike, John Wall and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The 2002-03 team (led by Azubuike) ran into future Hall of Famer and current Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, the 2009-10 (led by Wall) team shot 4-for-32 from three-point range in the Carrier Dome in an Elite Eight loss to West Virginia and the 2014-15 team (led by Towns) came within two wins of completing the first 40-0 season in college basketball history.
These three stars and their teams were represented on a recent list made by Sporting News on the top 31 teams to not win a championship. The 2002-03 team was ranked 27th out of the 31 teams, while the first-year version of John Calipari's Wildcats ranked 18th.
The 2014-15 team -- the team that came within a whisker of 40-0 -- finished only behind the 1990-01 UNLV Runnin' Rebels for the top spot on SN's list of teams.
There's a few notes from the list:
- Only the Duke Blue Devils (4) had more teams represented on the list than Kentucky and the North Carolina Tar Heels (3).
- The 12th-ranked team on the list -- the 2007-08 Memphis Tigers -- were led by future NBA MVP Derrick Rose and coached by John Calipari.
- No. 15 on the list: the 2013-14 Wichita State Shockers. (Big Blue Nation remembers how that team lost in the tournament, correct?)
- Coming in at No. 21 on the list: the 1995-96 UMass Minutemen that was coached by none other than John Calipari. The team that beat UMass in the Final Four? They had Tony Delk. Enough said.
- The 24th-ranked team on the list -- the 2010-11 Ohio State Buckeyes -- were upset by ... you guessed it, the Kentucky Wildcats. (Brandon Knight was Aaron Harrison before Aaron Harrison was a thing during that tournament run.)
If you look at what could have been for those three Kentucky teams on the list, the '02-03 Wildcats would have had a solid Kansas team waiting for them in the Final Four that beat Duke and Arizona in back-to-back games, followed by some guy named Carmelo Anthony and the Syracuse Orange in the title game.