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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Final Four a Real Possibility

I know I am supposed to be the Negative Nancy of this site, but I probably have the highest opinion of this team of any writer here.  I have said it since Maui that I think this team has enough to make the Final Four.  Would I bet they are going?  No.  But people who write them off as having no shot at making it to Houston I think are missing the point of what has generally made a Final Four team.  Despite having more talent last year, the lack of a good shooter really came up to bite them.  This year’s team does not seem to have that problem.  Here are 5 keys as to why I think this COULD be a Final Four team still:

1) Point Guards Important, Centers Not Important

2010: Jon Scheyer
2009: Ty Lawson
2008: Mario Chalmers
2007: Taurean Green
2006: Taurean Green
2005: Raymond Felton
2004: Taliek Brown
2003: Gerry McNamara
2002: Steve Blake
2001: Jay Williams

There are you last 10 starting point guards on national championship teams.  All 10 were key contributors on their teams.  Or more accurately, their teams could not have gone to the Final Four without them.  At the center position, you have guys like Brian Zoubek, Deon Thompson, Darrell Arthur and Craig Forth.  Have their been great centers on some of these teams?  No doubt.  Emeka Okafor, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah come to mind.  But, as the list above shows, you CAN NOT make a final four, much less compete for a national title, without a strong point guard.  Why do you think Cal recruits point guards so heavy?  They are the most important player in the NCAA Tournament.  Kentucky has a stud in Brandon Knight.  This is a HUGE positive. 

2) Only good teams beat Cal in tournament

2010 (1 seed): Lost to 2 seed in Elite Eight
2009 (2 seed): Lost to 3 seed in Sweet 16
2008 (1 seed): Lost to 1 seed in National Championship
2007 (2 seed): Lost to 1 seed in Elite Eight 
2006: (1 seed): Lost to 2 seed in Elite Eight
2004 (7 seed): Lost to 2 seed in 2ndRound
1996 (1 seed): Lost to 1 seed in Final Four
1995 (6 seed): Lost to 2 seed in Elite Eight

In Calipari’s last 8 trips to the NCAA Tournament, he has not lost to a team seeded worse than 3rd.  That says that Cal’s teams don’t slip up against inferior opponents, aka lose to a 12 or 13 seed in the first round.  In fact, it tells me that Cal’s team generally have big success in that 2nd round game against 4, 5, and 6 seeds.  Many coaches can’t say the same things, like Bill Self or Bo Ryan.  Point is, you can feel comfortable that Cal’s teams make it into the 2nd week, and the after that, in 1-game scenarios, UK’s talent matches up with just about anybody.

3) Most teams don’t have good big men this year

Ohio State has Jared Sullinger.  And who else has a dominant center this year?  I guess Trey Thompkins could be in the mix for 2nd best big man.  Maybe Jajuan Johnson.  Renardo Sidney?  Mason Plumlee?  And frankly, if UK gets matched up against those teams, particularly Ohio State, then it will likely be lights out.  But this is a 68-team tournament now, and if UK only has 2-3 teams to worry about in the post, odds are they will not have to face them.  Everybody acts as if the inability to stop the post will be UK’s downfall.  I would argue this is true, except it’s unlikely UK will have to face any of those teams.  It’s unlikely UK will be in the same region as Ohio State.  In fact, it’s a 75% chance that UK will not be in their bracket.  Personally, I like those odds.

4) The NCAA Tournament is a Crap Shoot

If Kentucky had to go through a gauntlet against Syracuse, Duke, Ohio State, and Texas to make the Final Four, then I would agree that it would be unlikely that UK makes it.  But, have we not watched enough of these tournaments to agree they rarely work out the way we think.  Last year, Butler made the Final Four as a 4 seed, where many projections have Kentucky right now.  They beat a 13, 12, 1, and 2 seed to make the Final Four.  Michigan State also made the Final Four as a 5 seed last year.  They beat a 12, 4, 8, and 6 seed to make it.  Why do we always assume the road will be extremely tough for Kentucky?  What if they get Michigan State’s run this year?  Even Butler only had to pull 1 upset to make the Final Four.  Are you saying in a 1 game scenario Kentucky couldn’t beat anybody in country not named Ohio State?  I certainly think they can, which gives them just as good a shot as any.

5) This team shoots well, rebounds well, and doesn’t turn the ball over

Those 3 things are generally things that teams either have or they don’t.  Last year’s team did not shoot the ball well, as shown by the West Virginia game.  Plus, they turned the ball over in stretches.  Do you really see this team having an 0-18 night?  Do you really see them turning the ball over 20 times in a game?  This team has proven there are certain things you can depend on with them: solid or great shooting, care of the ball, and good on the glass.  In games where they have been outrebounded, they have been defeated.  That has happened very rarely this season.  This team has individual flaws, but very few TEAM flaws.  That will serve them well come March.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

41 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Final Four a Real Possibility

  1. Phat Jones
    10:10 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    Sup y’all!

  2. Soap MacTavish
    10:18 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    I would be willing to bet up to two dollars that the selection committee sticks us in Ohio State’s bracket. You know, just for shiggles.

  3. TheTruth
    10:19 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    BTI, your posts are very, very interesting. They’re intriguing. But, “c’mon man”. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck…etc. This duck isn’t a Final Four caliber team. Fingers crossed for sweet 16.

  4. GoodLord
    10:23 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    It’s a Final Four team if we get the cakewalk draw Duke always gets. It’s not if we get a draw like last year…Former #1 team in the country (Texas) 2nd round and a team who should have been a 1 seed (WVU). Cornell was nice to play, however. I will have to agree this time around with BTI (sucks) and say we have the potential to make a Final Four run this season. Thanks, and I’ll hang up and listen.

  5. knightynight
    10:25 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    3) It it types like a pansy and smells like a pansy, you must be a pansy. Believe you negative Nancy.

  6. Go Cats7
    10:27 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    Fingers crossed for Sweet 16? This team couldn’t win consecutive games against a 12 and a 4 seed? or possibly even lower seeds? This is a definitely a 16 team barring some crazy mishap and on a night where all of Kentucky’s shooters show up, I would argue that UK is one of the toughest matchups in the country. They have the length, the shooting and the best lock down defender in the country in Liggins. Even if we do face a team with a great post presence if UK is shooting the ball well then they have a great chance of winning

  7. seth98123
    10:38 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    jesus bti, youre such an idiot, yesterday you were lamenting the possibility of next years team having the same amount of depth as this years team and it being a significant issue. then today to lament how this team is capable(which theyre not, sorry) of making the final 4. look, i love kentucky, but the first physical team we run into in the tournament sends us home, sucks, but its the truth.

  8. Doubting Thomas
    10:48 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    BTI, you must have read my comments yesterday. Never count our team or our coach out. We are very well coached with some of the best talent in the country. If Jorts, Hood, Vargas and Poole step up, we could actually make the final 4 and potentially win it all. That’s right, I said it. Now start howling all you negative naysayers. GO BLUE!

  9. Bryan the Intern
    10:50 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    8 ) That feel good getting that out? Because it clearly hasn’t felt good getting out your hate the last 350 times you have posted similar things. Makes me think you have a little obsession with my posts.

  10. Nassau65
    10:50 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    Cal will get the guys tuned in. Are we there yet? Absolutely not, and cal knows it too, but he is one of the best (if not the best) at doing what he does, and come march-the team may look nothing like it does today. Only time will tell. Seems each time they play, i see improvement in individual players. I just hope they all come together by the time the tournament gets here. Final four or not, i’m just glad to be a fan with hopes in the Cal era, knowing that the Billy G days are far behind us now. It’s much more fun to be a fan now, win or lose-final four or not.
    Go Cats.

  11. what about...
    10:50 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    I think our biggest problem with physical teams are the refs. That was shown in the Georgia game where we would drive to the basket, get bumped, with no foul called. Same scenario on the other end GA gets the call. Not blaming anything on the refs, but if fouls are called equally, physical teams are not as much of an issue. The dribble drive draws fouls on physical teams.

  12. OrvilleofMonkeysEyebrow
    10:51 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    that sports feller that luvs birds is a snob elitist bigcity sissytype letgovtrunthangs biased dummy what worked in Lvul and wrote that ricky book for him that dont know nuthin about rural Kentucky livin and prob cant make a rabbit snare from a sweetgum. Joe B. been down here a lots a times goose huntin. UK basketball is the best.

  13. Capnmonkey
    10:55 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    Everyone saying this team will not make it to the final four is absolutely correct, we just don’t have the strength, talent, or depth of a final four team such as Butler.

  14. tim
    11:01 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    Any team can beat any team this year. If Ohio St drops the next 3 in a row, then suddenly they won’t seem so invincible as the writer would suggest. And it might happen. Look at certain other top 10 schools this year.

  15. bung
    11:03 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    13….that was beautyful uncle Orville…..Cats will win evry game left and get # 8.

  16. Dark Helmet
    11:07 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    BTI have you forgotten that we’ve got handled by Georgia, UNC, and Alabama? That just doesn’t bode well for a final four run. I agreee this team does have a good chance but only if they are on fire and it’s hard to be on fire 4 games in a row.

  17. Go Cats7
    11:13 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    Also in the tournament Kentucky won’t have to go into a hostile road environment and play against a good team and a amped up crowd. At Georgia the arena was cranked up for that whole game and thats tough on a young team, especially for your first conference game. We all know that wherever the Cats travel in the post season it’ll be almost a home game for them. There aren’t any fans in the country that travel in as huge numbers as Cats fans do.

  18. Al's IndiCats
    11:21 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    Just for sh!ts and giggles, who had Butler making it to the final game last year? I know…….I know, but they got on fire when the time was right. Everybody and their brother had Ks, KSU, Michigan St. and Duke in the FF. If you had Butler you’re one of two things, a Gambler, or just plain lucky. Had we hit 2 three pointers, and 2 freethrows we win. That game sort of reminded me of when we played Georgetown in 84,when we couldn’t throw a rock in the ocean. Anything can happen is all I’m saying. And never give up!

  19. Thetruth
    11:29 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    Hate to say this but all of those teams had functional and capable big men or at least quality depth at the position. Harrelson flat out can’t get it done as at starting center, talent wise he should be 7-8 in a normal rotation. I believe he plays hard and is a great kid but outside of getting some decent rebounding he is incapable and gets absolutely used by other bigs especially in the SEC so far on a nightly basis. Eloy Vargas obviously isn’t anything to write home abt either. Just don’t see us getting it done this year with such a vanilla and minimally talented front court. Have to have more production and depth outside of Terrance Jones in my opinion

  20. UofL Card
    11:29 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    Kensucky would have a greater chance at winning the title in a poker game rather than in the actual tournament.Of course, looking back into Kentucky’s history, gambling shouldn’t be a challenge for you guys. You should be pros at it haha! GO CARDS!

  21. bung
    11:33 am January 27, 2011 Permalink

    21) is from CCNY?

  22. Traveling Fan
    12:02 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    *****TICKETS***** I have UK tickets for the game in Gainesville, 6 of them in a row.I paid $27.50 each for them. I will sell for $20 each!!!I live in Atlanta, if interested call or text me @ 770-856-3769 or @ [email protected] Big Blue!

  23. StuckinJayhawkLand
    12:04 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    You so called “fans” that complain about getting too much talent and winning too many games every year make me sad to be a UK fan. If you are happy with 4 year guys and winning 20 games every year I’m sure Tubby would appreciate some new fans. You are the same bunch that if we won every game by 30 points would be on here complaining about how we just aren’t that good because we haven’t beaten anyone by 40 yet. If this team does go to the final 4 how many of you idiots will come back here and apologize to Cal? I can tell you how many, ZERO! Your new complaint will be, well anyone can do it once, we can’t do it year after year like this.

    Let me ask you this, if all of the freshmen from last year’s team had stayed, how many would be your precious seniors this year? It’s simple, but for those that don’t know the answer is again ZERO. So based on your argument, even if Wall, Bledsoe and Cousins came back there is still no way this team could win a championship because we don’t have any seniors.

  24. UofL Card
    12:37 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    Sorry for my post at #21, guys. I’m just so jealous of you all that I can’t contain myself. In years to come, Kentucky will win 10 national titles before Louisvile wins 1. Ah, I hate you guys for being so good!!!

  25. BlueFins
    12:44 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    BTI, I read the title and first paragraph. You are not getting me with that nonsense or your stats. Where was the shooting in our losses? The best we shot in those losses was 38.7% vs. N. Carolina. You’ve seen the formula for beating the CATS. The only way we make it that far is if we get a Duke draw and hope for some big upsets in the bracket, and then play the dirty birds in the Elite 8.

  26. HackRichards
    12:45 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    BTI sure works hard on stuff nobody reads…

  27. josh
    1:00 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    21… win 7 championships then come talk to us GO CATS!!! how does it feel to have your arch rival beat you in your new arena

  28. screw the NCAA
    1:04 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    yet another post where BTI manipulates useless comparisons, stats, and absurd arguments to pretend he knows something … ex: centers aren’t important, but if we play a team with a good center, we’ll lose.

    please write more beisner.

  29. flipdunkking
    1:16 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    A couple good points, but way off on #1 and #3.
    Zoubek, 2 plumlees, and lance thomas were all physical down low, and at least somewhat skilled.
    Deon Thompson (not great) and Tyler Hansbrough (very physical and drew double teams)
    Noah, Al Horford, and Chris Richard
    Sean May
    Okafor, Josh Boone, Villanueva, Hilton Armstrong
    I dont want to look at any more rosters, that is enough.

    Point guard is very important but a post presence (preferably two is just as important) is equally as necassary.

  30. Chilly D
    1:25 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    the 2nd paragraph in this article…read it…memorize it. Next time one of your Louisville Chickenhawk buddies tries to tell you that Cal can’t coach, use that stat. Past 8 trips to the Final Four..lost to a 3 seed once, the otehr 7 times it took a 2 or 1 seed to send him home. Solid. Can’t wait til this dude gets a few banners hung up so the haters can suckit! In Cal We Trust!!

  31. Chilly D
    1:35 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    21 – You’re happy today and rightfully so. Your beloved 3rd Street Chickenhawks damn near scored 60 pts on their way to taking down a solid WVU team with 8 scholarship players in attendance. Over the next 2 games you have to leave the chicken bucket and Porcini and the boys have to play at Uconn and Georgetown State Prison. Good luck with that!!
    Tell the truth, were you one of the Chickenhawk fans that said Siva was as good as John Wall when he agreed to play ball down by the Ohio River?
    I don’t even know the name of a website to visit if for some reason I wanted to read about your team. Otherwise, I might have checked it out to see what your whiney azzes were saying after we came to Louisville and had a Grand Opening party at your fancy new shiz box!!
    Thanks for stopping by!!

  32. steve
    2:00 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    The other factors of being a TIRED team come Mid-March esp if they play 3-4 games in Atlanta and then are assigned to a Thursday-Sat Pod. Injuries to any of JKL but esp. K.
    All point to short bench with Polson or Hood being the only hopes for more than 6 at this point.

  33. Litig8tr
    2:00 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    There are some glaring deficiencies in this superficial analysis:

    1)”They [point guards] are the most important player in the NCAA Tournament.” Maybe, but we will definitely meet teams who have good point guards. Plus, the teams listed had fantastic supporting casts and depth (can you say “Vargas”?).

    2) “Most teams don’t have good big men this year…and if UK only has 2-3 teams to worry about in the post, odds are they will not have to face them.” You are dreaming if you think we are not going to face at least one team in its bracket with a strong frontcourt.

    3) “Why do we always assume the road will be extremely tough for Kentucky?” Because the Selection Committee always makes sure that we do! This is almost the same point you make in the previous observation that we won’t face a team with a good frontcourt. You are dreaming again if you think we won’t be in the same region as a Duke, Ohio St., Pitt, or Kansas.

  34. ChicagoCat
    2:44 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    You really went with Mason Plumlee over the Morris twins? It seems to me that you think frontcourts are weak because only a few players have been featured on sportscenter, which has all kinds of issues. Let us not forget that we rolled on UofL WITHOUT one of their big men. I still think we win if whatshisname (can’t remember) played, but still. The fact of the matter is that teams don’t need to have a dominating big man to beat us, they just need a solid front court who plays physical and we get dominated down low. If the shots aren’t falling at 48%+ FG and 40%+ 3pt we lose more times than not against solid frontcourts.

    And to the guys that are bitching about fans recognizing that we are not a final four team now: being a good fan is more than blind faith. Its also tempering your expectations and framing them in reality. Reality check, if we played a team like Kansas right now, we get ROLLED. It pains me to say it, but it’s the truth. Things could be different when March rolls around, but right now I see us as a sweet sixteen team, maybe elite eight with the right draw.

  35. Monty Hogge
    3:30 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    Nice post. Would you maybe be interested in some guest article writing? I have a website that focuses on sports apparel.

  36. Sawyer
    4:46 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    Greatest BTI Post in the History of UK Basketball

  37. Sawyer
    4:54 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    5 I dont know but I been told
    I dont know but I been told
    Eskimo p*ssy is mighty cold
    Eskimo p*ssy is mighty cold
    Mmm, good
    Mmm, good
    Tastes good
    Tastes good
    Feels good
    Feels good
    It is good
    It is good
    Good for you
    Good for you
    Good for me
    Good for me

  38. bigbill992001
    7:30 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    UK might be a tuff matchup for a lot of teams, but also a good matchup for a lot of teams(UNC, GA, Uconn, AL and only one of these teams is ranked). I would remind everyone that the NCAA is a SINGLE elimination deal. As things stand today, I would say a sweet 16 is about all we can hope for. Anything involving a FF would take an act of God. But, hey, it doesn’t hurt to pray

  39. bigbill992001
    9:39 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    At this point in the season, I’m thinking that a sweet 16 is the most we can hope for. While we may pose some matchup probs for some teams, we also pose good matchups for other teams(Uconn, UNC, GA, AL and only one of those teams are ranked). Any hope of a FF is just that, hope. It would take an act of God to get us there. But, then again, prayer helps, they say.

  40. Sheeeeeeiiiit
    11:11 pm January 27, 2011 Permalink

    I like the post BTI. I still can’t figure out why some people get so pissed at you.

    I agree We need to look at the positives. Right now no great center but Knight is becoming an awesome point guard. So we have that going for us. I get it, where is the up side. It’s in our shooting and our speed. By March We will be much better defensively and hopefully tougher than when we lost to UCON, UGA and AL. If we rebound well and shoot good we can compete with the better teams. Its hard to predict what these guys will do, loosing before the eight 8 is a safe bet. But I hope we can do more damage than that.

  41. UofL Card
    2:13 am January 28, 2011 Permalink