It’s March Madness, the greatest time of the year. Looking for some help with your bracket? Don’t know which teams to believe in, in this crazy college hoops season? We’ve got your back. We’re breaking down every first-round game in the field of 68, plus looking ahead at which teams will make the run to the Final Four.
2. Kentucky (29-5, 16-2/SEC)–How good is this Kentucky team? Well, as usual, they’ve got enough talent to make a run at a national title. But, as usual, they’re also among the youngest teams in the country.
If you were to compare these Wildcats to another recent John Calipari outfit, the 2014 team seems like the best fit. This team was more successful than that group during the regular season, but the talent level is about equal to that squad, which went on a euphoric run as an 8-seed and reached the national title game.
This team isn’t quite a once-in-a-lifetime collection of talent like UK had in 2012 (when they won the national title) or 2015 (when they were handed their first loss of the season in the Final Four). Guess it’s twice-in-a-lifetime?
But there’s plenty in the cupboard here–including lightning-quick point guard De’Aaron Fox (16.1 ppg, 4.8 apg, 4.1 rpg, 1.4 spg), the red-hot Malik Monk (20.4 ppg), chiseled big man Bam Adebayo (13.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and smooth wing Isaiah Briscoe (12.6 ppg). All of them will be pros.
If there’s one knock on this Kentucky team, it’s that they’re not as deep as they’ve been in years past, like in 2015, when they could have fielded two teams that would have reached the Sweet 16.
How far can they advance? All the way.
But something has held this group back a little bit this year. Maybe it’s youth, maybe it’s a little bit of inconsistency, or maybe it’s the fact that you can beat them if Monk has an off night.
Whatever it is, we think UCLA, which beat the ‘Cats in Rupp earlier this season, will knock them off again in the Sweet 16, en route to a Final Four trip of their own.