March Madness is always full of intriguing matchups, thrilling finishes, bold predictions, and ample comparisons. Heading into the Sweet 16, NBC Sports decided to rank every starter for the remaining teams in the tournament from top to bottom.
So from 1-80, every player that starts for his team was ranked and analyzed going into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
The Kentucky Wildcats have solid representation at the top and middle of the list, and thankfully, nobody toward the bottom.
No. 8 - PJ Washington
When he’s healthy and playing well, he can be one of the five best players in college basketball. We don’t know if he’s healthy, and he’s had more games this season where he wasn’t playing well than when he was.
No. 28 - Tyler Herro
If Washington is out, Herro is going to have to be the guy that steps up against a Houston team that will double team Reid Travis out of the game. He’s more than just a shooter, but he can also be prone to off-nights.
No. 43 - Keldon Johnson
Johnson carried Kentucky early on in the season, but as teams started to figure out what he can do offensively, it got more difficult for him. He’s still dangerous, and like Herro, he will need to be if Kentucky is going to advance.
No. 52 - Reid Travis
Travis is such a good rebounder and he can be a really effective scorer in the post, but he learned pretty quickly that like in the Pac-12 is different than life in the SEC.
No. 56 - Ashton Hagans
He is a monster defender at the point of attack that can get lost off the ball defensively and has had his ups and downs offensively throughout the year.
Obviously, this list is assuming that PJ Washington is a Kentucky starter instead of EJ Montgomery, which would be the case if not for his injury. At this point, I think the general assumption is Washington comes off the bench and gets a limited workload vs. Houston.
For what it’s worth, the highest player listed for the Houston Cougars is Corey Davis at No. 30. There are two Cougars ranked in the bottom six of this list of 80 players.
If Kentucky advances, they would face no top-10 players in the Midwest Region, though North Carolina Tar Heels guard Colby White and wing Cameron Johnson came in at No. 11 and 12 respectively.