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
6 of 10

. Oso Ighodaro. . 474. player. Senior 6'11" 235 lbs. Oso Ighodaro, C. 5. 14.0 ppg 2.9 ast. Oso Ighodaro, C

With Tyler Kolek, Marquette’s All-American point guard, out through the Big East Tournament, the Golden Eagles were forced to run the offense through their 6’11” center, and Ighodaro carried them to the conference title game. Rarely a volume scorer, Ighodaro is an adept passer and versatile chess piece for Shaka Smart on that end of the floor. 

Despite a limited number of touches, the senior averaged 2.9 assists a game, second to Kolek, and in the Big East tourney, he upped that to 3.7, while still managing to get his own shot. Typically, much of Ighodaro’s offense comes off pick-and-rolls and DHOs with Kolek, but if Kolek isn’t healthy for the NCAA Tournament, Marquette has more than proven it can run through Kam Jones and Ighodaro. Plus, his mid-post and floater game is so fun to watch. 

Kentucky will be in a weird spot if it matches up against Marquette in the Sweet 16. Ighodaro is capable of holding up against guards in switches, so Dillingham, Reeves, and Sheppard can’t just hunt him in the pick-and-roll. Then, on the other end of the floor, he’ll pull Onyenso or whoever Cal plays at center, away from the rim. So the best bet could be to go small-ball with Tre Mitchell at the five, if he’s healthy enough to hold up. 

The worst part, Kolek could be healthy enough to go.