If the game at Mississippi State on Feb. 21 was any indication, this Kentucky Wildcats team is beatable. John Calipari knew the adversity his team faced in the first half was a good learning experience. Unfortunately, talent and experience doesn't always win out. A bit of luck is needed to prevent Watford-esque moments from happening again.
Top seeds are vulnerable early and often in the NCAA tournament. No one questions whether or not Kentucky will win their first game, but after that it is anyone's guess. Upsets are a certainty in March Madness, and Kentucky is not immune.
Just last year, Pittsburgh (a No. 1 seed) lost in the third round to Cinderella sensation Butler. Duke and Ohio State lost in the Sweet 16 to Arizona and Kentucky, respectively.
Very few people could have predicted Butler upsetting Pittsburgh. Teams that are well-coached and have a stretch of good fortune could easily shock the Wildcats like Mississippi State did in Starkville.
These are the teams that could give Big Blue Nation a scare come tournament time.
You want hype? This game won't disappoint. John Calipari would be coaching against his former assistant Josh Pastner and a team that he left less than three years ago.
Aside from all the drama that sporting outlets around the nation would give this reunion, it would also be a very tough matchup for the Kentucky Wildcats.
Memphis was ranked as high as eighth in the AP Top 25 Poll earlier this year. They have the talent to score in bunches but haven't rebounded the ball well this year. However, they shoot the ball effectively (48.7 percent) and have scored over 80 points nine times this year.
The Tigers can keep up with Kentucky and would be a scary team to play in March. Bleacher Report's Jordan Schwartz has them as a No. 10 seed, which means they could very well meet Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
What Long Beach State lacks in size they make up for with quickness and shooting ability. In December, this team held a five-point lead over North Carolina at halftime—in Chapel Hill. This team dropped Pittsburgh in their second game of the year.
Casper Ware and the senior-laden Long Beach State team knows what it takes to be the underdog and come out on top. Their capability to score is as good as any other Mid-Major and they could give Kentucky a scare in the earlier stages of the NCAA tournament.
They are like Vanderbilt in that they have an absurd amount of experience on their starting five and are led by scoring guards. Both teams can make runs in the blink of an eye, which will make them a troublesome out in the NCAA tournament.
They are currently projected as a No.13 seed and could jump higher with a solid end to their regular season.
New Mexico has quietly put together a great year under Steve Alford. The Lobos are 22-5 and are sixth in Kenpom's defensive efficiency ratings.
Their seeding in the NCAA tournament (a No.7 seed prior to their loss to Colorado State) will almost certainly not reflect how well they have played this year. The Mountain West is one of the most underrated conferences in college basketball, and the Lobos are sitting on top.
If Kentucky can't find shots, New Mexico may be able to hang with the Wildcats.
Jay Bilas has given the title of "best Mid-Major" to Wichita State. And for good reason.
The Shockers are eighth in the nation in field-goal percentage (49.2) and 18th in the nation in points per game (78.6). They have the size in 7'0" center Garrett Stutz to fight with Kentucky inside, and are yet another Mid-Major with a strong senior presence.
Wichita State is currently a No. 4 seed according to Jordan Schwartz, which means if they kept that rank, they could see Kentucky in the Sweet 16.
The reining national champion Connecticut Huskies are 3-7 in their last 10 games. This is virtually the same team that won the title last year, minus Kemba Walker.
That's a pretty big subtraction.
Additions of Ryan Boatright and Andre Drummond were supposed to keep this team near the top of the Big East. Their catastrophic fall has been because of a lack of heart, effort and pride, something that typical Jim Calhoun teams don't lack.
Adversity has hit this team hard, and they are a far cry from their ranking of fourth in the AP Poll at the beginning of the year.
But no one questions that this team has talent. There haven't been any major injuries to this squad, and when the NCAA tournament begins, records go out the window. What matters is whether or not you can win your next game, and this team can.
Connecticut has the size (Drummond, Alex Oriakhi), speed (Boatright, Shabazz Napier) and skill (Jeremy Lamb) to compete with Kentucky on both ends of the floor. A No. 8 or No. 9 seed is possible (currently a No. 10 seed), but they could just as easily not make the tournament field.