As the season has gone on, the Kentucky Wildcats have taken steps in the right direction and shown they can be a special group. With college basketball as wide open as it’s been in years, they have a prime opportunity if they can figure it out by the time the NCAA Tournament starts.
On his March Madness 365 Podcast, Andy Katz does a #KatzRank for the week. On this week’s episode, he ranked the top-ten teams no one wants to face in March and he placed Kentucky at the top of the list.
#KatzRankz - Teams you don't want to face in March, as heard on the #MM365 podcast w/@TheAndyKatz!— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) January 29, 2020
3. Florida State
4. Seton Hall
7. West Virginia
10. San Diego State
The Wildcats still have a ways to go to get to that point with just over five weeks left in the regular season. The pieces are there, though.
For one, they have as good of a trio of guards in the country. Guard play is huge in a winner-take-all scenario and all three of UK’s guards can score, make plays, and defend at a high level.
Secondly, Nick Richards has emerged as a force. Richards is now pivotal for the Wildcats on both ends and if he continue this play down the stretch, there aren't many big men in the country who are better.
Third, Kentucky has won multiple NCAA Tournament games in eight of 10 seasons under John Calipari. In seven of those years, Kentucky mad the Elite Eight and beat at least three teams. In four of them, Kentucky beat a combined 19 teams en route to the Final Four, so Coach Cal and UK certainly have handed out a lot of losses to opponents in the postseason.
Finally, the potential and talent is all there. EJ Montgomery and Nate Sestina are X-factors in the frontcourt while Keion Brooks Jr. and Johnny Juzang are carving out roles for themselves, the toughness, poise, and consistency on both sides of the ball is coming along with time, and John Calipari is on the record saying that this team is starting to become accountable for themselves. Calipari’s better teams have made similar progressions to these in years past and with a more even field this season, a championship is up for grabs for a team like UK.
If you look at this Kentucky team right now, it’d be up for debate whether or not they should be at the top of this list. If this Kentucky team realizes their potential and takes advantage of the opportunity in front of them by the end of the season, though, it’s hard to see anyone else at #1 because of how dangerous of a group this team can be in March.