March Madness 2011: Don't Sleep on the Kentucky Wildcats

Paul CatalanoContributor IIMarch 15, 2011

The Kentucky Wildcats finding out there are number 4 seed, 2 seeds behind Florida.
The Kentucky Wildcats finding out there are number 4 seed, 2 seeds behind Florida.

Let's face it. Kentucky got shafted.

A No. 4 seed? Really? Wow. For a team that beat Florida twice in the past three weeks—and handily beat them—and beat Alabama as well—also a whupping—a No. 4 seed seems kinda low. Don'tcha think?

And you think Kentucky feels disrespected? Take a look at the picture to the right. Think maybe that team wants to show the world that they are better than a flipping No. 4 seed?

Kentucky went 25-8, but they won eight out of their last nine, including wins at Tennessee, and against Florida, Vanderbilt and Alabama.

Kentucky grew up during the year. Kentucky starts two freshman (sometimes three) and relies heavy on a third. Those three freshman, Terrance Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb are the top three on the Wildcat stat sheet in scoring.

Jones leads them in rebounding, Knight in assists, and Lamb in three-point shooting (shooting an unconscious 47 percent). And as these guys got more time and more experience, they started winning games they would have lost earlier in the season.

An early season loss to UConn had Brandon Knight shooting three for 15 with five TO. Terrence Jones had as many fouls as rebounds—four. And Doron Lamb had two TO and three fouls in 13 minutes. And only five points. They looked like a sloppy young team playing over their heads.

By the end of the season, in the wins against Vanderbilt, Florida and Alabama, those three, Knight, Lamb and Jones were playing up to their talent, and leading the Wildcats to big wins.

And now the team that won the SEC Tournament is pissed...big-time. To quote

Calipari's problem is that he was introducing logic. UK and Florida were meeting in the SEC title game at 1 p.m. Sunday. The winner, he reasoned, would get the better seed at 6 p.m.

"One of us is a 3 and one is a 4 and whoever won the game would flip in there because they could easily do that," Calipari said. "That's the only thing they'll be able to do is switch us and Florida. But you can obviously see they had the 2 and the 4, and I don't think they were comfortable putting us in at 2. "I don't think it's personal," Calipari said. "But, wow."

There's nothing more dangerous than a talented athlete or team with a chip on its shoulder. Joe Louis's rematch with Max Schmeling leaps to mind. Kentucky is a supremely talented team—five-star blue chippers fill the roster—and they feel disrespected. Slighted. Angry.

I would not want to face these guys in this tournament. Don't be surprised if come the Final Four, the Wildcats are there.