Kentucky Basketball: No Excuses for Wildcats with Duke Defeated in NCAA Tourney

Matt OveringContributor IIIMarch 16, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15:  Doron Lamb #20 of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts after he made a 3-point shot in the first half against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The 2012 NCAA tournament selection committee placed Kentucky in a "retribution" bracket. Connecticut, Indiana and Duke highlighted one of the toughest regions of the NCAA tournament for a No. 1 seed.

To the dismay of college basketball fans around the nation, Kentucky may not play any of these teams.

Connecticut lost in their first game to Iowa State, removing a matchup that would have boasted no less than four future NBA lottery picks. John Calipari and John Calhoun were unable to meet in the NCAA tournament two years in a row.

Duke also lost in the second round. Their shocking loss to Lehigh eliminated the chance for a Kentucky-Duke rematch that every basketball fan has craved since the 1992 NCAA tournament. For the record, Kentucky and Duke have played three times since 1992 (Kentucky is 1-2 in those games).

The last potential "rematch" game for Kentucky would be against Indiana in the Sweet Sixteen. The Hoosiers defeated Kentucky earlier this season on Dec. 10. Big Blue Nation called for a rematch on a neutral court, and they may get their wish. 

With that being said, Kentucky has a much easier bracket even if they have lost the chance for vindication against Connecticut and Duke. Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio summed it up well in this tweet:

Teams left in UK bracket: Iowa St, VCU, Indiana, Baylor, Colorado, Notre Dame, Xavier, Lehigh: #Noexcuses

— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) March 17, 2012


Baylor may be the most talented team out of those remaining eight (soon to be seven) teams, but 'Cats fans need to know that Iowa State is a peculiar matchup. The Cyclones have beaten Baylor and Kansas, two top-15 teams.

Royce White against Terrence Jones will be a great duo to watch. Both are beefy power forwards who have a great all-around game.

Despite Iowa State's resume, Kentucky opened as a double-digit favorite to win. They'll be favored throughout the tournament, even more-so now that Connecticut and Duke are gone.

Kentucky's title hopes are still very much alive. It's March, though, and there are plenty of upsets still waiting to bust brackets. Five more games separate the Kentucky Wildcats from No. 8 and Calipari from No. 1.