John Calipari's squad will get better throughout the year
It is easy to look at this Kentucky team now and write it off as an overrated bunch. Frankly, it does not play like one of the country's five best teams. The Wildcats' only signature win is a narrow 72-69 victory against a decent Maryland team.
They have lost their two toughest games of the early season, so what is there to get really excited about?
The fact of the matter is this is how John Calipari's teams have operated during his tenure at Kentucky. Granted, last season was an exception, but overall his teams do not play anywhere near their best basketball until halfway through conference season.
Because of the talent and youth that is present on his teams, they are competitive early on and show a lot of promise. However, his teams do stumble at times early in the season. They might even lose the majority of their conference road games, as was the case with the 2011 Final Four team led by Brandon Knight and Josh Harrellson.
The fact of the matter is each of his teams are formidable come March. He recruits elite athletes as well as talent, so when it comes down to a one-game, winner-take-all format, then his teams more often than not feature longer, taller, quicker players who are extremely talented and are then seasoned and ready for a deep run.
Look at the potential of this team. They feature two seven-footers (Cauley-Stein and Noel) who can both block shots, run the floor, finish with authority and rebound the ball. Come tournament time, very few teams will have an answer for two players of their size and skill set in the paint.
As for Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin, there may not be a better one-two perimeter punch in the country once they reach the NCAA tournament. Goodwin is a dynamite scorer who attacks the rim relentlessly, draws a high number of foul shots, shoots with efficiency from the perimeter and can score from anywhere on the court. He is also a triple-double threat every time out on the court due to his ability to rebound well for a guard and dish out assists.
Poythress is one of the most intriguing players in the country and just had a four-game streak of scoring 20 points or more snapped versus Notre Dame. He is incredibly strong and will have an athletic advantage against nearly every other small forward that he will face this season. Once he learns to keep his motor running throughout every possession, then the sky is the limit for him.
Even players such as Mays, Kyle Wiltjer and Jarrod Polson are high-IQ players who can score from the perimeter and have experience. They will be ready for the challenges of the NCAA tournament and will be there to guide their younger teammates to glory.
Last but not least, John Calipari and Kentucky are on a three-year roll right now and show no signs of stopping any time soon. Until a Calipari-led team loses its composure early in the NCAA tournament, it is never smart betting against a coach who has always led his teams to deep tournament runs, including his teams at Memphis and UMass.
All of the above reasons are why Kentucky is simply experiencing growing pains right now and will be just fine as they progress through the remainder of its 2012-13 schedule and beyond.
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