An undefeated regular season is hard to do. The Kentucky Wildcats accomplished that.
An undefeated regular season and a conference tournament championship are even harder to do. Kentucky accomplished that.
An undefeated regular season, a conference tournament championship, and a national championship without losing a game is the hardest of all to accomplish, and well, the Wildcats are on the brink of history.
If this were to happen, Kentucky (34-0, 18-0 SEC) would be the first Division-I men’s college basketball team to go undefeated and win a national championship since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers, led by coach Bob Knight.
While it seems like 90 percent of America is picking the Wildcats to win the tournament this year, I am here to tell you that picking the rest of the field versus Kentucky is a smart play.
Kentucky may very well have the all-around best team in the entire NCAA this season. Currently they rank 29th in points per game at 74.9, and they have the nation’s third-best scoring defense, allowing an average of only 54 points per game.
Their size is incredible. Kentucky has six players above 6-9 on their squad, including two seven footers in Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson.
Many think that this team is flawless. Many think that they are an easy pick to win it all. But, there are ways to beat this Kentucky team.
The first is you MUST rebound – both offensively and defensively. With the size and athleticism that Kentucky has, you have to be physical and claw your way to rebounds. Giving up too many offensive rebounds to the Wildcats will end up killing you.
Second is that you must beat their defense down the floor. Getting out and running after a defensive rebound is crucial. Running in transition is a step towards winning against this Kentucky team.
Last, and the biggest one, is that you have to hit threes. It would take a good eight or more threes to beat Kentucky. No one has shot the ball particularly well against Kentucky this season, and a lot of that has to do with teams not being able to score in the paint against Kentucky, forcing them to take outside shots.
Here is a list of teams that could beat Kentucky: Villanova, Wisconsin, Arizona, Duke, Gonzaga, Iowa State, and North Carolina.
That’s only seven teams. But there are similar qualities between these teams.
They all can score. They all can shoot. They all are big enough. And they all play up-tempo.
If I had to pick one team that has the best chance at beating Kentucky, it would be Arizona in the Final Four. Arizona has great length, can score, and is awesome defensively.
While they are undefeated, and while they are clearly the best team in America, someone is going to pull off the unthinkable – and that’s why we call it March Madness.