If we have learned anything this young college basketball season, it is that there is no dominate number one team in the country. And that’s not a bad thing. It means that as many as eight teams can be considered legitimate national title threats and that Kentucky will be one of them. And for all the teams that will battle, Kentucky definitely has the highest ceiling of any of the contenders.
When the national polls come out later today, Indiana will be the number one team in the country. But they are hardly a dominate team. Indiana has been tested this season by 2-4 Georgia and taken into overtime by an unranked Georgetown team. Georgetown at some point will be a top 20 team, but Indiana has showed chinks in the armour. Cody Zeller has struggled in a couple of games early and was outplayed for most of the Georgetown game by Otto Porter. Plus the Big 10 is stacked with Michigan and Ohio State camping out in the top five. Indiana also faces North Carolina this week, so their path to even a Big Ten Title will be a test and they could lose 4-5 times in the Big 10.
For my opinion, Duke should be the number one team in the country as they have wins over two top five teams: Kentucky and Louisville. While Duke’s run is impressive, it should be noted that both Kentucky and Louisville were without Ryan Harrow and Gorgui Dieng. What does that say about Duke’s 7 point and 5 point wins? If UK and Louisville had been at full strength, Duke very well could have two losses.
Don’t be so quick to believe the hype about Louisville either. The Cardinals are a dreadful shooting team hitting just 42.8% of their shots and ranking 201st in the country. Peyton Siva has been wildly inconsistent yet again, and the Cards have looked both like Final Four contenders and first round flameouts often in the same game. Plus the Big East will be tough again and the Cards inconsistencies will be exposed.
And at this point, I’m not ready to say Kentucky as a true contender yet. The rebounding has been awful at times and the defense has been lax and inconsistent. Kyle Wiltjer has to step up his defense and UK’s starting point guard has only played 10 minutes this season and may not play much this week. So far this week, they have been pushed around by Morehead State and by LIU Brooklyn for most of a half.
Thing is, most of the teams in the top ten are pretty set in their rotations and we know what to expect from them this year. But you can not say that about Kentucky. I guarantee you that no team will improve more than Kentucky will by March and April. While Louisville and Indiana were thought to be their top teams in the country, their ceilings are pretty much set. Kentucky is a team that has no ceiling at this time. There is no limit as to how good this team can be and how much they can improve.
When you consider the fact that a team of freshman pushed the experienced and game proven Duke Blue Devils to the limit in just their second game together … you get the idea how good this team will be. Duke won’t improve much by March. Kentucky will.
And that is a scary thought for the rest of the NCAA.