Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: College Basketball Hot Takes


Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

It’s frigid cold outside here in Louisville today and there’s approximately 8 inches of snow on the ground. I’ve been stuck in the house with a 3 year old and  5 year old since Monday and I can’t get my car up a snowy icy hill so I can leave my neighborhood. But, we’re less than a month from Selection Sunday and the start of the NCAA Tournament. So, let’s warm up with some college basketball flaming hot takes.

1. Kentucky’s path to #9 won’t be easy. According to Joe Lunardi’s latest “Bracketology” Kentucky could face Michigan State in the Round of 32, Wichita State in the Sweet 16, and Notre Dame or Wisconsin in the Elite 8. And then, in the Final Four, likely Gonzaga or Arizona, before Duke or Virginia in the national championship. I remain convinced the Selection Committee will ensure our path won’t be easy.

2. Bring on Virginia. It’s hilarious listening to UofL fans who seem convinced Virginia would beat Kentucky. No, they wouldn’t. In fact, right now, I’d take the Wildcats -15. Yes, Virginia’s defense is incredible but they lack size and depth. And, most importantly, they lack offense. The Cavaliers average 66.4 points per game, 203rd in Division I. Kentucky? The ‘Cats are averaging 73.3 points per game, 49th in Division I. And, unlike Virginia, many of these Wildcats have been on the big stage before. Should Kentucky meet the Cavaliers in the national championship game in front of a overwhelmingly pro-UK crowd in Indianapolis, well, I like the ‘Cats’ chances.

3. Bring on Duke, too. Last night, while watching the end of the North Carolina-Duke game (you know, the one ESPN hyped as the best rivalry in college basketball, 2 months after ESPN hyped Kentucky-Louisville as the best rivalry in college basketball) I couldn’t help but think, “Kentucky would destroy Duke.” Okay, maybe that’s a bit of exaggeration but I sincerely am not afraid of Duke. Okafor wouldn’t command the double team from Kentucky that he does from other teams and the Wildcats’ interior offense and defense is far superior to the Blue Devils.

4. Indefinite suspensions aren’t that long. Okay, so maybe “indefinite” means “ lasting for an unknown or unstated length of time” and “not clearly expressed or defined; vague” but c’mon, a ONE game suspension for Chris Jones? Yesterday, Pitino said this about Jones:

"“This was a decision – it’s all cleared up – he could play the next game if he does what the assistant coaches tell him to do. If he doesn’t he sits again. And I don’t care if he sits the whole season, to tell you the truth. I could care less. Because if he doesn’t do the right things and act like a Louisville man, he can move on and try to go to Belgium somewhere.”"

Does this sound like someone Pitino legitimately wants on his team? But, and it must be acknowledged that Pitino did say Jones could be back for the Cardinals’ next game, less than 24-hours after Syracuse dismantled UofL, word comes out that Jones is likely to play against Miami on Sunday. Good for Jones for getting things back together.

5. SEC will have more wins in the NCAA Tournament than the ACC. It’s hip to hype the ACC these days. So much so that the popular line is Kentucky would have 3-4 losses if they played in the ACC instead of the SEC. Interestingly, the SEC has 8 teams in KenPom’s Top 50. The ACC, 6. Joe Lunardi projects 6 teams from the SEC into the Tournament field…and 6 from the ACC. Maybe the top of the ACC is stronger than the top of the SEC but from top to bottom, the SEC isn’t as weak as so many believe.

Stay safe and warm everyone. Spring isn’t too far off and with it, the end of what has been a fantastic college basketball season.