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NCAA Basketball Kentucky WildcatsMarch MadnessSEC Basketball

NCAA Tournament: 5 Kentucky Players Who Must Deliver During the Sweet 16

5 Kentucky Players Who Must Deliver During the Sweet 16

Kentucky Wildcats
Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

All season long, Kentucky head coach John Calipari had made tweaks and adjustments to somehow get this overwhelming amount of talent to mesh. As we enter the Sweet 16, it seems that he has done that very thing and a few players in particular need to perform if Kentucky doesn’t want to end its tourney run here.

5. Alex Poythress

Alex Poythress
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

5. Alex Poythress

Alex Poythress
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Poythress has been a hit or miss player for John Calipari all season. Either he comes out and imposes his will in the paint or stands lackadaisically on the wing and becomes an observer. Kentucky will have their hands full with Montrezl Harrell, and the big body of Poythress could help in defending him.

4. Andrew Harrison

Andrew Harrison
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

4. Andrew Harrison

Andrew Harrison
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

One of the so-called “tweaks” that John Calipari made to conclude the regular season was Andrew Harrison becoming a pass-first point guard. But in the Wichita State game, he showed he could still carry the team with his scoring ability. For Kentucky to upset Louisville, Harrison will have to run show as both a facilitator and scorer.

3. James Young

James Young
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

3. James Young

James Young
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

In the thrilling win over Wichita State, James Young played a huge role in hitting clutch shots that helped Kentucky claw back into the game. This has become common for Young as of late and for the Wildcats to take down Louisville, much of the same must happen.

2. Willie Cauley-Stein

Willie Cauley-Stein
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

2. Willie Cauley-Stein

Willie Cauley-Stein
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky shouldn’t have too much of an issue putting up points against Louisville. That leaves Willie Cauley-Stein as the guy who needs to anchor the Wildcats' defense. Averaging 2.9 blocks per game, Cauley-Stein will need an even steeper effort to help lift Kentucky to the Elite 8.

1. Julius Randle

Julius Randle
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

1. Julius Randle

Julius Randle
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Randle must step up in the Sweet 16 because Kentucky simply won’t beat Louisville without him. Not only is his size and physicality a must to match that of Montrezl Harrell, but his leadership and will to win is what Kentucky will rely on to lead them to the Elite 8 over its biggest rival.