Feb 5, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Nerlens Noel (3) shoots the ball against South Carolina Gamecocks forward Michael Carrera (24) in the first half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated South Carolina 77-55. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

College Basketball: It's Wide Open

Kansas loses to TCU.

Duke loses big to Miami.

Indiana loses almost every time they play away from Bloomington.

Louisville has a three game losing streak that includes losing to Villanova.

Feb 07, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Tyler Griffey (42) hits the game winning shot to defeat the Indiana Hoosiers 74-72 during the second half at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

When you look at the top of the rankings in men’s basketball this year, one thing is perfectly clear: there is no dominant team.  Not only that, but there’s not even a group of teams where you could definitely say could produce a national champion. The NCAA Tournament is shaping up to be as wide open as it’s been since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1986 (also the last time UofL won a national title).  With March being so uncertain, now’s not the time for Big Blue Nation to write off this year’s Cats.  In fact, with the way they’ve played lately, I really like this team’s chances in March and beyond.

As I pointed out in a previous article, the Wildcats are slowly, but surely beginning to come together, with everyone filling his own respective role.  As more teams face more and more questions, the Cats have seemingly begun to answer some of those questions from earlier in the season.  And I would go so far as to say that Kentucky’s ifs aren’t nearly as big as other teams ifs.

Jan 29, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Mississippi Rebels forward Murphy Holloway (31) goes up for a dunk and is guarded by Kentucky Wildcats forward Nerlens Noel (3) during the game at the Tad Smith Coliseum. Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Mississippi Rebels 87-74. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden–USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Siva in foul trouble? Louisville looks extremely ordinary. And can Cards fans trust Russ Smith?

The Hoosiers away from Bloomington are pedestrian at best.

Bill Self just labeled his Jayhawks team as “the worst team in Kansas history, going back to the days of Dr. Naismith.”

Perhaps the most complete team in the country, Michigan, is too reliable on the outside three point. Live by the three, die by the three.

So, taking all these factors into consideration, and to quote Head Coach John Calipari, “I like my team.”  I’m counting on Ryan Harrow to be strong with the ball.  I’m counting on Julius Mays to make a big play.  I’m counting on Archie Goodwin to attack the basket.  I’m counting on Kyle Wiltjer to hit the big three.  And, most importantly, I am counting on Nerlens Noel to continue improving and, at some point, give us a game that we well be talking about for years.

With so much uncertainty in college hoops, I have to ask the question: Why not Kentucky?


Tags: Kentucky Wildcats Basketball

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