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Where Are The “Elite” Teams?


Coming into this season, there seemed to be an echelon of teams that were clearly ahead of the pack. Some are still clinging to that tier, like Kansas and Villanova. Others have faltered a bit, like Kentucky and Oregon. Some have had a much deeper fall from grace, like Duke and Indiana. (Grins smugly).

Turns out, the “parity” from last season may have never left.

Take yesterday’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge, for example. The overall record ended in a 5-5 tie between the conferences, the first time the Challenge hasn’t ended in an outright victory for the Big 12. Some of the individual outcomes seemed more like they came out of a random number generator.

Florida absolutely THUMPED Oklahoma, 84-52. Remember Oklahoma? The team that ran to the Final Four last season with Wooden Award winner Buddy Hield at the helm?

Ole Miss, a team with 5 losses in the SEC, nearly knocked off 1-loss, former no. 1 ranked Baylor, coming up just short, 78-75.

Kansas, after last night, seems to be the safest 1-seed prediction out there. Don’t be surprised, though, to see the seeding landscape change even more from here until March. ESPN’s resident bracket brain Joe Lunardi started off this season’s hypothetical tournament with the following one seeds:

Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and Oregon.

Since then, UK, has obviously, had some growing pains, but still has the makings of a great team. Oregon just took their 3rd loss of the season to a pretty bad Colorado squad. And Duke… well, let’s just say “mega team” the Blue Devils aren’t. Now, joining Kansas as the presumptive no. 1 seeds, according to Joe, are:

Villanova, Baylor, and Gonzaga. Yes, Gonzaga.

Villanova is, at least, understandable. But Baylor wasn’t even in the AP Preseason top 25. And, sure Gonzaga is undefeated, but I doubt many of us who will be filling out our brackets in a matter of weeks will be taking the Bulldogs all the way to a title in Phoenix.

Don’t lull yourself into thinking that just because there were no “elite” teams last season means someone has to emerge as an overwhelming favorite this year. Maybe “parity” is the new normal.


Article written by Jay Winkler

Avid fan of UK Athletics, WWE, and chicken wings. Preferably at the same time.

8 Comments for Where Are The “Elite” Teams?

  1. bosshogg24
    7:08 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    UK starts four AAU high school players, KU starts 3, 4, and 5 year players because KU players don’t get drafted. Why isn’t Mason, Graham, Lucas and Bragg in the NBA? Eighteen year old’s can’t compete against 20 and 22 year old players. Calipari might have to take another look at his recruiting and get some 4* players that can play and come back the next year but not like the group we have on the bench now. It is almost impossible to win the title with freshmen! I know he did it once!

  2. jim tom
    7:14 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    Agree 110%.

  3. AllBall
    8:53 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    We have one solid win all season (UNC) with no more opportunities to beat a household name. Losing to UCLA and Kansas in back to back years is painful enough. Now throw on top of that a couple losses to hated rivals UT and UL and you understand BBN’s frustration. This typically isn’t an indication of March success. Hopefully, these kids understand now that defense and valuing the ball are not optional to win at the highest level. If the title truly is the goal then we should see vast improvements from here on out. However, it appears many in the program are more concerned with June rather than March.

    • Luether
      12:18 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      Remember we’ve seen this before with the Brandon Knight team and the Harrison twins Freshmen team. Both had similar issues to this team, if not more, and ended up in the Final 4…

  4. jim tom
    9:16 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    75% of our wins in the calipari era are against crappy SEC teams

    • BTownUKFan
      10:23 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

      75% of every team’s wins are against crappy conference and non-conference teams.

  5. BTownUKFan
    10:25 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    The ratings are going to change, Baylor and Kansas will play twice in the regular season and Baylor also has to play West Virginia. We probably missed our chance to get a one seed, but at the end of the day you have to win 6 games to win the championship.

  6. Angelo
    2:47 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    i am scared. i want Cal to get 5 ships! i don’t want Cal to be ‘one and done.’