Kentucky Wildcats: Will Inexperience Trip Them In March?

Mike HendersonCorrespondent IIFebruary 14, 2010

LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 13:  Patrick Patterson #54 of the Kentucky Wilcats shoots the ball while defended by Kenny Hall #20 of theTennessee Volunteers on February 13, 2010 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Those that think that Kentucky will soon be #1 are probably right. 

It won't be because they are the best team though. It will be because Kansas is far more likely to lose in the Big 12 than the Wildcats are in the SEC.

While the SEC experienced a "down" year last, expectations for a much-improved league were high. However, with the exception of the aforementioned Wildcats and the Vanderbilt Commodores has anyone else stepped up?

In the East, Florida has struggled and will not, in all likelihood, make the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year. South Carolina has been all over the map as well and are clearly NIT-bound. Georgia has been more competitive than expected but that has failed to translate into many wins. Tennessee has been galvanized because of suspensions and a dismissal to their top player but they too are beginning to fade.

In the West, Mississippi State has been disappointing. They should be better, even without Renardo Sidney. Mississippi has been up and down and are currently a bubble team at best. An early season win against Kansas State is the only thing remotely resembling a quality win. I love Anthony Grant but Alabama isn't much more competitive than they were last season. Auburn, well, they're Auburn. And LSU has to reload, big time.

The Wildcats have three conference tests left - road games versus Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Tennessee. If they get out of these unscathed, they could be number one by the end of the season.

But the SEC is not the Big 12 or the Big East or even the ACC. Those early wins over North Carolina and Connecticut have lost some of their lustre as both of those opponents have struggled and would not even be on anyone's bubble.

Kentucky has certainly earned a one seed in March up to this point. But their relative inexperience will catch up with them before they have a chance to get to Indianapolis in April.