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Why Kentucky is a dark-horse contender for a National Title

This year’s team is still figuring out its identity. It would be a bad thing if it were March and this were the case, but it is early-January and they have plenty of time, and conference play, to find themselves. The talent is undoubtedly there, but so is the youth. One superseding the other in a given game basically decides the fate of this team. We’ve seen flashes of a potentially great team but we’ve also seen a team that could be one-and-done in tournament play. It’s up to the players to decide how they want to be remembered and how far they would like to go in March. Regardless, the talent and coaching of the Wildcats has ESPN’s John Gasaway sold. He thinks Kentucky is a dark-horse contender to win a National Championship.


Kentucky (9-4, unranked)

I know what you’re thinking. Calling the defending national champions — a team that has reached the Elite Eight in each of the past three seasons — a “dark horse” is an abuse of the term. Hey, I don’t make the rules, I just play by them. And at this writing UK is still, incredibly, unranked. (I thought surely that would change after the Wildcats played Louisville into the 40th minute at the KFC Yum! Center a week ago. I was mistaken.) John Calipari’s team is clearly a work in progress on offense, but the one thing that hasn’t changed since last season is interior defense. It’s still more or less impossible to make a two against this team. And I’m not embarrassed to say I’m old enough to remember 2011-12, when I watched Kansas ride a sputtering offense (meaning it sputtered during the tournament) and incredible D all the way to the national championship game. Just saying.

So, don’t fret. With Cal working on Alex Poythress’ assertiveness, Ryan Harrow becoming a floor general, and Noel and Cauley-Stein protecting the paint at a crazy clip, this team could end up special in a couple months.

Article written by Rashawn Franklin

11 Comments for Why Kentucky is a dark-horse contender for a National Title

  1. Honestly
    8:36 pm January 7, 2013 Permalink

    Sweet Sixteen is considered a good year for this year’s squad. Too excited about 2013-14

  2. Stumps
    8:37 pm January 7, 2013 Permalink

    Kentucky basketball…underrated.
    Notre Dame football…overrated.

  3. Bill says
    8:56 pm January 7, 2013 Permalink

    It will take a lot of effort to get to the swt 16. Becasue , unlike the other three, there is no real experience in needed position.

  4. brain
    8:59 pm January 7, 2013 Permalink

    Another regurge.

  5. D Willis
    9:11 pm January 7, 2013 Permalink

    Who will be a bigger scrub next year, me or Jon Hood?

  6. Hal
    9:17 pm January 7, 2013 Permalink

    elite 8 sounds about right for this team.
    15 of past 17 ncaa champs were in ap top 10 by this week.
    2 teams that werent in top 10:
    1)msu was ranked 11th in 99-00
    2)syracuse was unranked the year melo embarassed roy in 02-03
    maybe we’re another syracuse this year….

  7. schwing
    9:19 pm January 7, 2013 Permalink

    Euck you, mantei teo. Euck you up your freshly-ripped 2nd @$$hole.

  8. Bonkrshr
    9:28 pm January 7, 2013 Permalink

    I’m a little disappointed that you haven’t reminded folks that Justified starts again tomorrow.
    Focus man!

  9. Steve
    9:48 pm January 7, 2013 Permalink

    Justified is the only real news here!

  10. Rixter
    10:12 pm January 7, 2013 Permalink

    Duke 75-UK 68
    UL 80 – UK 77
    Duke 76 – UL 71

    Duke, # 1
    UL, # 3
    UK, unranked

  11. kingrex
    1:58 am January 8, 2013 Permalink

    This year might sadly be a sign of things to come for UK basketball. The reason I say this is not to be negative, but simply pointing out that we always had a Patterson, a Liggins, a Harrelson, a Miller. If we had had a Meeks then Patterson, Wall and Cousins would have won it all and Meeks would have been rewarded with the others who suffered under the psychopath BCG. What troubles me from now on is the concentration seems to be on signing these guys and almost pushing them out the door after one year. It was a gift to get Jones and Lamb for a 2nd year. I just fear this might possibly be our new reality. With the guys coming in next year I am not sure anyone on the current roster would hang around for next year no matter where they are projected to go because of the presumed loss of playing time. Is this the new norm where we will not have enough quality 2, 3, and 4 yr guys to anchor a team? Cousins was not ready and LOVED being a student. He even commented whether joking or not that Cal almost pushed him out the door. Why? Was it to make sure he got the next guy who gets nauseous imagining having to be in school for a 2nd year? Sorry, I am just thinking out loud.