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Final Four 2012 Predictions: Kentucky's NCAA Title Drought Will End

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 23:  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14, Darius Miller #1 and Doron Lamb #20 of the Kentucky Wildcats react during their 102 to 90 win over the Indiana Hoosiers during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on March 23, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Justin WeltonAnalyst IIMarch 24, 2012

Fourteen years ago, Kentucky cut down the nets to win another NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. They haven't done it since.

Similar to the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Detroit Red Wings and other historic franchises, 14 years is an extremely long title drought.

Kentucky easily has its best opportunity to win the NCAA National Championship with this group in 2011-12.

The drought is ending in 2012. They have all the tools for a championship season. 

 

NBA Talent

Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb will play in the NBA.

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 23:  Terrence Jones #3 celebrates with Darius Miller #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats after Miller scored against the Indiana Hoosiers in the first half during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Davis will be the No.1 pick most likely, Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the more underrated prospects given his size, athleticism and ability to play well in big games, and Jones is a risk-reward type of player. 

 

Championship Pieces 

Davis blocks/alters shots, Lamb and senior Darius Miller knock down outside shots, Kidd-Gilchrist will do whatever it takes offensively and defensively, and Jones and Teague are capable of being difference makers with their ability to score the basketball.

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 23:  Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats blocks a shot by Cody Zeller #40 of the Indiana Hoosiers in the second half during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on March 23, 2012 in At
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Davis blocks five shots per game, Lamb and Miller knock down 47.4 and 38.3 percent of three-point opportunities, Kidd-Gilchrist averages 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block per game, and Jones and Teague score 23 points per game combined.

All of the pieces are there.

 

Difference Maker

Aside from Davis blocking/altering shots, i'm going to focus on Kidd-Gilchrist. I raved about him all season, which probably made people sick on Twitter, but I absolutely love what this kid brings every game. 

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 23:  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats and Victor Oladipo #4 of the Indiana Hoosiers vie for a loose ball in the second half during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on M
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

He has that "whatever it takes" attitude that people who love the game of basketball can appreciate.

He'll volunteer to defend the best player on the opposing team, he doesn't need the offense to run around him to score points, he'll dive on the floor, contest shots, rebound with a high success rate, find the open man and score by driving to the basket.

The list goes on and on.

Now that he seems out of his little funk in the NCAA Tournament, expect Kidd-Gilchrist to play a major role in a national championship run. 

With Kendall Marshall's wrist setting the Tar Heels back and Fab Melo being ineligible for the Orange, Kentucky clearly has the best team left in the field. 

With the door wide open, the 14-year drought will finally come to an end. 

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