NCAA Bracket 2012: Kentucky Wildcats Proving Experience Is Overrated

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMarch 28, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 25:  Anthony Davis #23, Marquis Teague #25, Terrence Jones #3 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats react during the first half against the Baylor Bears during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Final at the Georgia Dome on March 25, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

To traditionalists, the 2012 NCAA tournament may as well be the end of the world as we know it.

Here we have Kentucky, with a starting lineup composed entirely of underclassmen, blowing through the competition. Heck, one of its few contributing seniors, Darius Miller, comes off the bench. Its star player, Anthony Davis, is a freshman.

College basketball's history has conditioned us to believe that experience is a vital component in going far in the NCAA tournament. Few inexperienced teams dominate the way Kentucky has.

But the Wildcats are turning grizzled college basketball historians into stone. That's because most college basketball historians have given up trying to convince everyone Kentucky isn't going to win the national championship because of its inexperience. That was once a logical point to make—now it's borderline crazy.

Sure, there are still two more games for Kentucky to win. The Wildcats could get flustered by Louisville's defense or not know how to handle Ohio State or Kansas. That's a possibility, at least.

But I think what everyone is beginning to realize is experience isn't that important when you have four potential first-round NBA draft picks in your starting lineup (Davis, Michael Kidd-Christ, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb). That tends to cancel things out.

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That's not to say we should throw the notion that experience wins championships out of the window, of course. If Kentucky had perhaps one less first-round pick, maybe the Wildcats don't get that far.

But Kentucky has shown rather emphatically that you don't need experience to win a college basketball title. It would honestly be shocking at this point if the Wildcats don't win the championship.

You can make the counter-argument that Kentucky isn't inexperienced when you add head coach John Calipari into the mix. But, let's be honest, Calipari isn't playing the game. This is the first time some of these kids have seen March Madness, and they actually appear to be having fun (no sweating? no pulling hair? no childish temper tantrums?).

My advice to you traditionalists out there: Ride this one out in a bunker, emerge when the dust has settled and pretend Kentucky never won the national championship, circa 2012.

Follow me on Twitter. We can talk about how Kentucky's inexperience doesn't matter.

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