It seems ridiculous to say that this Kentucky team can make a Final Four. No depth, no inside presence, and a team dominated by freshman usually means bad news for a team hoping to make the Final Four. And after the loss to North Carolina Saturday, there is a lot of negativity running through this fanbase. So, I thought I would try and get your hopes up and convince you this team CAN make UK’s first Final Four in 13 years. Here are the reasons why:
1) The NCAA Tournament is unpredictable
-Butler (2010), George Mason (2006), LSU (2006), Louisville (2005), Georgia Tech (2004), Syracuse (2003), Indiana (2002). The list goes on and on with teams who have made a Final Four that nobody predicted would do so. How many times do we have to experience the tournament before we come to the realization that it rarely plays out like we think it would. Look at those teams listed above. Do you really think Kentucky is worse than any of those teams? You really think Kentucky is worse than the LSU team that made the Final Four 5 years ago? I certainly don’t think so. Hence, by shear history, Kentucky has as good a shot as any to make the Final Four.
2) Guards dominate the NCAA Tournament
-Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams (1985), only 4 centers have ever won the MOP of the tournament. 4 out of 26 tournaments played. Compare that with 11 forwards and 11 guards who have won that award. Guards have their hands on the ball the most during the game, and most importantly, at the end of games when a big shot is needed. How often does a team throw it into the post for their last second shot? Very rarely. Guards win championships. Kentucky has the guards.
Duke won a championship last season with Brian Zoubek as their starting center. Brian Zoubek. Not Christian Laettner. Not Emeka Okafor. Brian Freaking Zoubek. Centers don’t matter in the tournament. They are simply a bonus.
3) Depth Is Not Important
-Duke played a total of 8 players in last season’s national championship game. EVERY ONE OF THEIR STARTERS PLAYED AT LEAST 31 MINUTES!!! Not a single reserve scored a point for Duke. Not one single point. And that team won the national title.
In 2003, Syracuse won the title starting 2 freshman. In the title game, they played 6 guys over 20 minutes. In that same game, Kansas only played 6 players PERIOD. Look through Final Fours of years past, and you will find that most teams only played 6-7 players significant minutes, even in the Final Four. Florida won 2 national championships playing, essentially, 5 players.
4) College Basketball is Not Great this Season
-Duke. That is all that college basketball has this season. Duke is clearly the best team. Ohio State looks very good to me. Besides that, there is not any other elite team in the country. People rant and rave about Michigan State, yet they have some serious offensive issues, plus they lack a skilled big man. Remind you of anybody? Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Kansas, UCONN. All considered Top 10 teams. All with serious questions at this point in the season. In a 1-game scenario, can you really not envision Kentucky having any chance to beat those teams? Because those are the caliber of team you would meet in a Elite 8. In a 1-game situation, there are only 2 teams that I would not pick Kentucky against, and thats Duke and OSU.