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Has the time finally come for one of Calipari's great teams to cut down the nets in April?
The clear favorite in this tournament are the Kentucky Wildcats.
Not only do they have the extraordinary depth of talent typical of John Calipari teams, but they for once have a mix of veterans and newbies. This has not been the case for his teams of late as he has made a living of recruiting and encouraging one-and-done college players. Carolina for sure can claim to be as talented as them, but there is something special about the talent and toughness that this year’s Wildcat team has.
In the past, Calipari has had trouble coaching a team to victory once they make it deep into the tournament. I am not sure that Calipari has changed, as much as this year’s team seems more together and more mature than many of Calipari’s teams from the past.
No one really takes bad shots, everyone is unselfish, everyone has bought into a role, and their great pressure defense has been enhanced by the presence of a real-life human beast in Player of the Year candidate Anthony Davis.
Although he still is a work in progress as a player, he has taken major strides and developed himself into a true terror on defense. He set the single-season SEC record for blocks this year and led the nation while playing in a power six conference (4.6 per game). If he does not block shots, he alters them. This is a luxury for a team that defends so well on the perimeter.
It is going to be tough for any team to really beat the Wildcats unless they catch them on a bad day. They have a balanced attack that does not overly rely on jump shooting or any particular player to score, as they have four players that average double figures topping out with 14.3 ppg by Davis. Two more players could be rounded up to 10 ppg (9.8, 9.9), so they epitomize balanced scoring.
Sophomores Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones have been great compliments to freshman stars Davis, Marquis Teague, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
They have everything it takes, including poise, something that the past two Kentucky teams did not have when faced with tough road tests in-conference and out-of-conference.
This is a team that looks poised to win it all for the first time since 1998.