The Kentucky Wildcats have shocked the nation (Ha pun) and defeated the previously undefeated Wichita State Shockers. Kentucky was able to hang around with Wichita State the entire game, displayed perseverance as they fought back to take the lead (After a 37-31 halftime deficit), and made their free throws when the game was coming to a close.
Overall, I saw two great teams going head to head, but in the end, Kentucky made one too many plays than Wichita State. Wichita State showed they deserved the number one seed, but Kentucky showed they are better than their seed.
After the game, the only questions I have for Kentucky is: Can they beat Louisville? Can they win their region? However, the most intriguing: Can Kentucky win it all?
The past two games, Kentucky has shown a lot of promise, and hope going into the rest of the tournament. Kentucky has played their game and not tried to do too much, and the result has been wonderful. Kentucky beat Kansas State off of dominating the boards (40-28), playing with their bigs and attacking the basket (21 free throw attempts), and John Calipari using his great coaching with the young guys.
Kentucky has used its size to it's advantage, and are the 3rd best rebounding team in the nation. The smallest Kentucky player, that has played at least 5 minutes in this tournament, is 6 foot 6 inches. Even their guards are able to fight down low and grab rebounds! Of course, Kentucky has Julius Randle, 6'9 and 250 LBS, and their rebounding is amazing with him on or off the court (Two seven foot centers).
Kentucky also loves to play down low and attack the basket. Kentucky has long, tall, some big, and athletic athletes, and use this line up to their advantage. Kentucky is 2nd in the nation in FTA and 3rd in FTM. They are not a shooting team as they are 273rd best three point shooting team in the nation, and choose, to instead, attack the basket. This offense is still pretty efficient as Kentucky has the 62nd best offense in the nation.
This offense comes from the great coaching of John Calipari, and the young talent of Julius Randle, James Young, and the Harrison twins. John Calipari knows how to coach young guys (Has experience from the past 5-8 years), and this was never more evident than when Kentucky defeated Wichita State. Julius Randle was not scoring well, but Calipari influenced Randle enough to let the game to come to him. Randle ended with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists, and let the Harrison twins take over the game.
On the opposite side of the court, Kentucky plays pretty good defense. Kentucky has the 31st best opponent FG% defense, and again, their rebounding finishes their tough defense, allows Kentucky to head down on offense and use their talented scorers to their advantage.
The great part of Kentucky is they have multiple talented scorers, and an experienced coach who can lead them far into the Tournament. Not only does Kentucky have talent and chemistry, but with Calipari, they have experience.
All of these great assets give Kentucky at least a fighting chance of winning the National Championship. Now, defeating and matching up with Louisville, Michigan, and all the other great teams in the Tournament is another story. However, Kentucky definitely has the talent, chemistry, and experience to be able to win the National Championship.