Kentucky‘s victory over Ole Miss on Tuesday night makes them the third team in my series of squads who will mess up brackets come March. Baylor and Miami were the first two teams who I found will be highly scrutinized teams when we hit the field of 68. Many thought that the Wildcats were no guarantee to dance come March, but their win over the Rebels helped in a big way.
Kentucky’s profile entering tonight was in need of some help. They had an RPI of 62, and were 2-3 on the road this season. Before this, the team’s best wins were Maryland, LSU and Tennessee – none of which will make a dent in a resume. They have two games with Florida and a home contest with Missouri, but also some tricky road games at Tennessee and Arkansas.
One cannot doubt the talent of the Wildcats. Five players put up at least ten points per game with two others scoring at least seven. They’ve played without Willie Cauley-Stein who is shooting 62% from the field this season. This team’s bread and butter is on the defensive side with Nerlens Noel. The lanky freshman with 11 blocks on Tuesday patrols the paint with reckless abandon. One would think a team on the younger side would struggle defensively, but they’ve held 12 opponents to 65 points or below.
It’s a tenuous path for this team to even make the tournament. You still can’t believe in them completely, but the talent is there. With the right match-up come March, this Kentucky team could do some Sweet things.