Ranking the 10 best players in the South Region that Kentucky could face on the way to the Final Four

John Calipari and the Wildcats will have a tough road to the Final Four out of the South Region in the NCAA Tournament, and these are the players in the way of the Wildcats and Final Four No. 19.
Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1)
Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) / William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports
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D.J. Burns, PF. . 12.4 ppg 4.0 reb. D.J. Burns, PF. 7. player. D.J. Burns. . Senior 6'9" 275 lbs. 442

Across the entire season, D.J. Burns was not NC State’s best player, that was D.J. Horne, who led the team in scoring at 16.9 points per game and shot over 40% from three. However, in the postseason, Burns has become the Wolfpack’s offensive fulcrum. 

NC State made a five-game bid-stealing run through the ACC Tournament last week and during that stretch, the 275-pound senior, who puts the power in power forward, averaged 15.2 points 4.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists. The best offense for Kevin Keatts’s team was to dump the ball into Burns, force a double-team, and allow Burns to use his excellent court vision to pass out of it for an open three. 

That particular style of offense will cause issues for Kentucky, and different issues than the Wildcats typically face. With multiple score-first freshman guards, Kentucky is primarily susceptible to penetration from aggressive guards, but Burns, who the Cats could see in the Round of 32, would force a very young roster to make solid defensive rotations, which I don’t trust players like Dillingham and Wagner to do.