NCAA Tournament Scores 2012: Kidd-Gilchrist's Decision Won't Slow Down Kentucky

Josh MartinNBA Lead WriterMarch 23, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 17:  (L-R) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 and Darius Miller #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrate after they won 87-71 against Tyrus McGee #25 of the Iowa State Cyclones during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 17, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Here's a shocker for all you Kentucky fans out there: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will go the way of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Brandon Knight, and enter his name into the 2012 NBA draft pool following the NCAA tournament.

And his decision to do so won't sway the Wildcats from their path to the national title, because, well, they're still too good and too talented, and Kidd-Gilchrist isn't gone yet.

UK boasts an unbelievable combination of precocious young talent, between MKG, Marquis Teague and National Player of the Year favorite Anthony Davis, and battle-tested tournament experience, with Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller all having played key roles in last year's run to the Final Four.

Not that the reports of MKG's decision won't serve as something of a distraction for this team, or wouldn't for any college basketball squad. He's an integral part of what the Wildcats do—a talented-but-still-hard-nosed forward who'd just as readily score in bunches as he would dive after a loose ball.

But it's not as though news and rumors of this sort should come as any sort of shock to Big Blue. After all, Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones have been dogged by the same speculation all season as well. So have Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb.

And if there's any coach who has first-hand experience with and is adept at handling one-and-done hype, it's Coach Cal. He's dealt with it more than just about anyone in the business, losing the likes of Wall and Knight at Kentucky and Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans at Memphis before that.

So, never fear, Ashley Judd. Your hopes of celebrating your school's eighth national title won't be at all imperiled by MKG's change of heart. The bigger concern for Kentucky still rests with its opponents, starting with Indiana in the Sweet 16 on Friday and continuing with Baylor or Xavier on Sunday before moving on to New Orleans for a hard-fought Final Four.