With the ending of the decade approaching us here soon, everyone is getting in their “best of” the decade lists in, and what would be a “best of” without college basketball?
NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster created his personal top-10 college basketball teams of the decade, which is just enough to feature some of John Calipari’s dominant Kentucky Wildcats squads. (Also, this list gave me some inspiration for a future post. Be on the lookout.)
The first Kentucky team we see on the list is the 2010 Kentucky team coming in with a No. 5 ranking, just in-front of 2012 North Carolina and just behind last year’s Virginia Cavaliers National Title team.
It’s a fair ranking being that, that team was dominant all season long with John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, and Patrick Patterson manning the ship and bringing Kentucky back to relevancy. However, that one bad shooting night against West Virginia will forever haunt that team and Big Blue Nation.
The next Kentucky team comes in at No. 3 and it’s questionable to have them at No. 3. The 2012 National Title team is ranked third. This team was dominant from start to finish of the 2011-2012 season, going 38-2 and perfect in regular season conference play.
The 2012 team broke the single-season record for blocks in a season, anchored by Freshman Anthony Davis’ record-breaking 186 blocks. The team was arguably the best defense and offense in the country, blowing out opponents left and right.
This was also the first title won with one-and-done players, thus changing the way college basketball was played while also establishing Calipari’s Kentucky Basketball empire.
The 2014-15 Kentucky team comes in at No. 2, which is also highly questionable. The Wildcats went 38-1 that season and a perfect 18-0 in conference play, making it to their second straight Final Four.
Led by Future NBA All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, this team is probably the best team in history to never win a title, and certainly one of the more dominating teams in the history of college hoops. This team was the introduction of the platoon system for Coach Cal, and, barring a season-ending knee injury to Alex Poythress, you have to wonder what life would be like if Kentucky were able to complete the quest for 40-0 that season.
But that’s not all. Dauster also created a list of the best players of the decades, and to no surprise once again had a presence.
There was certainly an argument for Towns to make one of the teams, but he got off to a slower start during his lone season in Lexington, while Davis and Wall hit the ground running for their respective teams.
And there’s no denying Wall and Davis were easily two of the best the 2010s had to offer. Wall came in with more fanfare and lived up to the hype while leading the resurgence of Kentucky Basketball, while Davis came in two years later and completed the journey back to the top of college basketball with a national championship.