It was impressive what Kentucky did a year ago. John Calipari took a bunch of talented freshmen and turned his team into a national champion. The thing is, every season is different, and just because you go out and reload with a new batch of talented newcomers, it doesn’t mean you are going to get the same results.
Kentucky is learning that this season. Yes, the Wildcats are still one of the better teams in the nation, but they probably aren’t national championship material.
Florida, on the other hand, does seem to have the potential to be a champ. The Gators dispatched the Wildcats 69-52 on Tuesday in a Southeastern Conference showdown and ended a string of five consecutive losses to the defending national champions. Scottie Wilbeken paved the way, pouring in 14 points. Patric Young, Mike Rosario and Casey Prather added 12 points apiece as the seventh-ranked Gators nailed down a big win.
Florida shot 49.1 percent from the floor and drilled six 3-pointers. They also played tremendous defense, holding the Wildcats to 42 percent shooting and forcing 17 turnovers.
Florida is the team to beat in the SEC at the moment, and unless something insane happens over the next few weeks, the Gators will win the conference championship. The Gators are capable of making a run at the national title and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they are one of four teams playing in Atlanta in two months.
As for Kentucky, what they did last season was impressive, but this Wildcats team is different and isn’t on course for another title.
Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.