When Jay Bilas isn’t quoting Young Jeezy or opining about college basketball on TV, he spends some time each week ranking the nation’s best teams in the Bilas Index. According to the man himself, the Bilas Index uses KenPom and Sagarin data combined with his own insights to break down the college basketball landscape. This week, your University of Kentucky Wildcats got the honor of the top spot and Bilas got the honor of being the first ranking I could find to link with the Cats at #1. I’m not sure who should be more excited. Here’s what he had to say about Kentucky:
The Wildcats did not play their best against Alabama, especially on the offensive end, but by virtue of 40 free throw attempts and nine blocked shots, Kentucky’s young Cats were able to hold off Alabama in Rupp. The offense is going to get better, but the defense this team plays will give it a chance to win every game. UK has only four Sagarin top-40 wins, but this is clearly one of the two or three best teams in the country.
Bilas is right that Kentucky didn’t play the sharpest offensive game on Saturday, but it was encouraging to see them win a grind-it-out game against a tough team that’s put together in a way that theoretically should give the Cats the most trouble. Alabama was solid and very physical inside with multiple scorers on the perimeter, but Kentucky found a way to win nonetheless. Having just beaten an Arkansas squad that plays a much more up-tempo style, it just goes to show that Kentucky can adjust to handle their business against any kind of team. That’s a quality that championship teams need to possess, and UK most definitely has it. That’s a very good thing.
[Bilas Index (ESPN Insider)]