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Jay Bilas: Kentucky is the third best team left in the tournament


A while back, we gave our pal Jay Bilas some grief when he didn’t list Kentucky among his seven teams that could win it all. Bilas eventually added the Cats to that list, but after the first weekend of games, he’s feeling even better about Kentucky’s chances. In the latest “Bilas Index,” Bilas ranks Kentucky third among the teams left in the tournament behind North Carolina and Kansas.

“The Wildcats are playing much better defense, which was the only thing standing in their way of being a title winner,” Bilas writes. “Bam Adebayo has 28 rebounds in the NCAA tournament, the most in the field and the most through the first two rounds of an NCAA tournament in Kentucky history. Adebayo is the third Kentucky player to have a double-double in each of his first two career NCAA tournament games (Julius Randle in 2014, Frank Ramsey in 1951).”

All of that is great, but as Bilas points out, Kentucky still has “the toughest draw of the No. 2 seeds” ahead of them, starting with a rematch with UCLA and another potential rematch with North Carolina in the Elite Eight. Speaking of the Bruins, Bilas ranks them fifth. Fellow SEC brethren Florida and South Carolina come in at #13 and #16, respectively.

Check the rest out at ESPN Insider.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

11 Comments for Jay Bilas: Kentucky is the third best team left in the tournament

  1. 8xchamp
    10:33 am March 22, 2017 Permalink

    I like our team and our coach, gettin #9.

  2. tfordstyle
    10:41 am March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Does that make Duke #17?

  3. az1006
    10:50 am March 22, 2017 Permalink

    It’s odd. We’re a 2-seed, have already played arguably the highest-profile game of the tournament, and are certainly playing the highest profile game of the Sweet 16, and yet we are somehow floating under the radar. It isn’t that people aren’t paying attention, but I don’t get the sense many folks think we’re for real and most don’t expect us to get past UCLA. Jay Bilas is the only national pundit I’ve seen be as bold as to say we are the 3rd best team remaining…Most would argue we are the 3rd best team remaining in our region.

    Go Cats.

    • IstandUPatGames
      3:34 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      The other national expert that picked UK to win is Joe Lunardi, who probably watches more basketball than anyone and knows the stats inside and out, still the way office pools go, I would feel a lot better if I knew Janice in Accounting picked UK!

  4. maximumscott
    10:55 am March 22, 2017 Permalink

    There is only 1 other 2 seed and we knew the West was somewhat open. Im looking at other matchups across the board and to be honest I don’t think we have the hardest one.

    Gonzaga and WVU- If I were a Zag fan I would be terrified of this game bc the way WVU plays is the way that Gonzaga can get beat. Matter of fact the only loss on their schedule was BYU who played similarly to WVU in that game. I think WVU takes this game.

    UNC and Butler- After the way UNC played against Arkansas I would be nervous going forward to play a Butler team that beat Nova twice. Butler is known as a Giant Killer and has the mindset to upset a team like UNC.

    We should feel way better about our matchup with UCLA bc we have tape from earlier in the year. If you watched that game then you know that we didn’t defend well, rebound well, guard the pick and roll well. We virtual had no energy that game and UCLA came in swinging and hot. All of those things we didn’t do the first time we do now. Plus, Bam was heavier then and not nearly as agile and quick as he is now. The reason he is getting better numbers is because he is lighter on his feet, but just as strong. He has lost 10 pounds due to proper dieting since December. UCLA will not have an answer for BAM. Yes, they have a good offense, but Cincy held them to 79 pts! We are better than cincy in Defense and Offense by double according to Kenpom. UCLA has the pressure of stopping our offense as their defensive has been known to go through lulls in games. If this game is close under 4 minutes, then I give the edge to the CATS because our player shave lived in tight games and know how to close a game out. UCLA has either won big or lost by 8-10 points against teams. They may have had 1 close game, but other than that the game was deciding with under 4 minutes for most of the year. The best athlete on the floor is Ball, but overall we have better athletes than them.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that Ball, Leaf and Welsh are irreplaceable if they get into foul trouble. Be on the look out for early fould trouble on Welsh as we are more prone to go into Bam. If that happens then that stupid 15 footer goes away and Bam can play more inside on Defense helping with D boards against Leaf. Honestly, lets get either Leaf, Welsh or Ball in early foul trouble and our chances increase exponentially.

    The more I think about this game I get more confident. Im still nervous bc it can go either way, but if UK plays defense like they did against WSU and Monk shoots a better clip, then we will win 5.

  5. Wildfelinebeeline
    11:01 am March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Even though he played for Duke, I think Bilas has given UK a fair shake most of the time which is more that can be said for nearly all of his peers at ESPN.

    That said, I think UK gets revenge on UCLA, Cal always owns UNC, and we get revenge on Kansas. Go Cats, get #9!

    • Rick_S
      12:42 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      He has up until this year then his Duke bias went off the deep end..He really went overboard after the ACCT

  6. Eazy
    11:04 am March 22, 2017 Permalink

    I agree with us being 3 but Florida is better than 13th. I think they are the best team in their region.

  7. kuhlkat
    11:31 am March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Why are we supposed to care what Bilas thinks?

  8. NcCatFan75
    12:07 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    “All of that is great, but as Bilas points out, Kentucky still has “the toughest draw of the No. 2 seeds” ahead of them, starting with a rematch with UCLA and another potential rematch with North Carolina in the Elite Eight”… and if we get past all THAT, we have Kansas to contend with

  9. mostdiggity
    10:09 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Here’s my opinion post on MAD MARCHNESS – madness paradox wrapped in a March enigma:

    Thanks for the read.