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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Sophomore 7'0" 248 lbs. 434. Kyle Filipowski. Kyle Filipowski, C. . . Kyle Filipowski, C. 3. player. 17.1 ppg 8.2 reb

The South Region is mostly dominated by elite guard play, but Duke is the exception. The Blue Devils have some experience from Jeremy Roach and a young talented shot-maker in Jared McCain, but Kyle Filipowski is the centerpiece of Jon Scheyer’s team. 

If he had more success and a better haircut, Filipowski would feel like the second coming of Christian Laettner, a stretch five with a legit combination of size and shooting. Filipowski is best in the post and playing as the roll-man for Roach or Tyrese Proctor, but his swing skill is the three-point shot. 

He shoots it at a 35% clip on 3.2 attempts per game, and if it’s falling, it forces opposing bigs to respect him off the pick-and-pop, creating space for Duke’s guards, who are less than elite athletes, to get to the rim. However, if he can’t knock it down, teams can defend Duke with drop coverage, and the driving lanes close up quickly. 

Because Kentucky’s perimeter defense is well, awful, Cal needs a rim protector around the basket to clean up mistakes. Filipowski could alter the geometry of Kentucky defensively and make the already impossible task of getting stops, even harder.