Kentucky Basketball: 5 Reasons NCAA Champs Will Be Even Better Next Season
John Calipari finally got his basketball championship.
Excuse me if I am more than unamused.
The Kentucky Wildcats beat the Kansas Jayhawks, 67-59, in the finals in The Big Easy on Monday to claim the 2011-12 title.
While the elite group of players Calipari had in his stable proved that young men can play a child's game like grizzled veterans, it would have been disastrous if the best team in the country had not won on this grand of a stage.
This is not the "Fab Five" of Michigan or any comparison to the great teams of yesteryear in college basketball. Rather, this is a team made of many NBA-quality stars who will take their game to the next level.
But be warned: Kentucky will be loaded next year and challenge for another spot in the Final Four.
Here are some reasons why Kentucky could be better next season.
Not All of Its Stars May Turn Pro
Even if Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis leave to go pro, the cupboard is not bare.
And there are other players on the Kentucky team who are older than 19, believe it or not.
Kentucky still may have the likes of Darius Miller and Marquis Teague on the sidelines and in the starting line up next season.
All five are first-round talents, but you figure that some may opt for a better draft position.
The SEC May Have a Down Year
I know that is a big "maybe," but the SEC may lose players like Bradley Beal to the draft as well.
College basketball has become a game and sport of attrition. Those teams that keep it together, find puzzle pieces and remain a cohesive unit win basketball games in the college ranks.
While Kentucky will be a national power, winning the SEC would be the first step in claiming another title.
Recruiting Has Gone Well So Far
With names like Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, Anthony Bennett, Nerlens Noel and Shabazz Muhammad on the radar of Wildcats recruiters, next season's class could be better than this season's.
Now, from that group, if Kentucky can corral them all, who is the "next" Anthony Davis?
Kentucky has a class that can rival any team in the country over the last 15 years.
John Calipari Got the Monkey off His Back
It seems a lot easier to win once you win your first championship.
Whether there are more in John Calipari's future remains to be seen.
But since the Kentucky faithful are dancing today and will be for the next few months, Calipari can breathe a sigh of relief and concentrate on adding to his trophy case, no longer waiting for the first one to come his way.
Winning Becomes Habit-Forming
Even if he does not have the "best" talent in the country, John Calipari and Kentucky may just find ways to win.
The same can be said of other college programs whose teams were not superior (Duke, UConn) in years they won titles, but they willed themselves to wins.
Those teams were teams of character, and while Kentucky's teams seem more athletic than others that have recently won, losses of big-name talent may make this team more mature.