Over the years, Jay Bilas has become one of the most respected analysts in college basketball, and generally, when he talks, I listen. Yesterday, Bilas released his list of the seven teams he believes can win the national championship and there was a notable omission: Kentucky. Here are Bilas’ seven National Championship contenders:
1. North Carolina Tar Heels
2. Villanova Wildcats
3. Kansas Jayhawks
4. Oregon Ducks
5. UCLA Bruins
6. Louisville Cardinals
7. Gonzaga Bulldogs
“There are about seven teams that The Bilastrator would favor to compete favorably for the national championship,” Bilas says. “There are another dozen that can compete favorably for the Elite Eight. After that, it is a fight for a second weekend berth, which usually goes to around 13 major-conference teams and three mid-major teams.”
Bilas lists Duke, Arizona, and Kentucky as the first three teams in his Elite Eight list, followed by Baylor, Butler, and Florida State. What about the rest of the SEC? Florida came in at #18, South Carolina at #31, Arkansas at #42, Vanderbilt at #47, Tennessee at #57, and Georgia at #61.
Sure, Kentucky hasn’t always looked like the world beaters they did early this season, but their talent combined with Cal’s track record should keep them in the conversation of teams that can win it all, right?