Kentucky Wildcats are even money to win NCAA Basketball Championship

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Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky Wildcats /

Kentucky Wildcats

For most of this season, critics of the Kentucky Wildcats scoffed at the idea of a perfect regular season.  The out of conference schedule was too tough and UK would have their run at perfection ended before 2014 was over.  And then the knock was that Kentucky could not win on the road.  Once the Wildcats pulled off back-to-back road wins over Florida and LSU, the question became whether Kentucky NEEDED to take a loss to win a National Title.

That did not happen and this morning, the Kentucky Wildcats are 34-0 and king of the SEC after pulling off three easy wins in the SEC Tournament.  And this morning, the Wildcats are even money to win the NCAA Title.  

"The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook updated its odds to win the NCAA tournament Sunday, just a few hours after the bracket was released. The undefeated Wildcats, the No. 1 overall seeds, top the odds at even. In comparison, Florida was the favorite entering last year’s tournament at 4-1. Ed Salmons, the SuperBook’s head college basketball oddsmaker and a 20-plus-year Las Vegas veteran, said Kentucky is the first team he remembers entering the tournament at even money in at least 20 years. Kentucky is looking to become the first team to finish the season undefeated since the Indiana Hoosiers ran the table in 1976 under coach Bob Knight. At 6-1, No. 1 seeds Duke and Wisconsin have the next-best odds behind Kentucky. Duke, the top seed in the South Region, awaits the North Florida-Robert Morris winner. Wisconsin, the No. 1 seed in the West Region, would face Kentucky in the semifinals. Villanova, the fourth No. 1 seed, is 8-1 to win it all. Other notables: Arizona 15-1, Virginia 15-1, Gonzaga 18-1, North Carolina 25-1, Kansas 40-1, Baylor 40-1, Iowa State 40-1, Notre Dame 60-1, Oklahoma 60-1, Michigan State 60-1, Utah 60-1 and SMU 60-1."

Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After the Kentucky Wildcats knocked off the Arkansas Razorbacks yesterday, they allowed themselves a few minutes of celebration and then went to the lockerroom without cutting down the nets at Bridgestone Arena. To be honest, I did not even think about for even a second. I did not expect them to cut down the nets as this team has said several times they are focused on the NCAA Championship. And to be honest, Kentucky was not the first team to leave the nets hanging. However, this became a thing and John Calipari had to explain that his team simply forgot to cut down the nets.

"“Can I tell you honestly?” he told ESPN. After a bit of sparring over whether an honest answer was desired, he added with a shrug, “Honestly, we all forgot. We forgot. We walked off the court and someone said, ‘You forgot to cut down the nets.’ I said, ‘Dudes, what are we going to tell the media because you know they’re going to make a story?’ “Ah, tell them we’ll worry about the other nets.’ Literally, forgot. Walked off the court. “Really, we were trying to get on the plane to get back to the house [for the Selection Sunday show].” He did seem to do a little pyschologizing, though. “Everybody says ‘Kentucky can’t lose,’” he said, adding that he believes he has the best team and players — which doesn’t always guarantee a title. “This is a one-game shot now. All I want my team to be individually is to be the best version of yourself.”"

Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari can say that his team forgot to cut down the nets, but it was a predetermined act. Willie Cauley-Stein set the record straight.

"“Those aren’t the nets we’re really looking to cut down,” Willie Cauley-Stein said. “It was just a milestone. It’s part of the process for us winning and everything, but we’re looking for something bigger. We’re looking to cut down a couple more nets in the tournament.” Less than three hours and a short flight home to Lexington later, the Cats learned the path they will have to take to Indianapolis to cut down those nets. UK, ranked No. 1 in both polls throughout a remarkable 34-0 run through the 2014-15 season, was tabbed the No. 1 overall seed in the Midwest Regional in one of the most anticlimactic announcements in Selection Show history. “There are no surprises,” Aaron Harrison said. “I knew we were going to have a tough road. It has to be tough, it is the tournament.”"