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NCAA Basketball Kentucky WildcatsMarch Madness

2014 NCAA Tournament: Kentucky Basketball Is Team To Beat In The Elite Eight

Kentucky Basketball

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats started out the 2013-14 college basketball season as the preseason No. 1 team, but fell far short of expectations by finishing second in the SEC to the Florida Gators and losing 10 games on the season. In the 2014 NCAA tournament, Kentucky looks to be doing the opposite of just that, as they  are getting better game after game.

With the Sweet Sixteen coming to a close, the Elite Eight is set, and Kentucky will face the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan was lucky to get past Kentucky’s fellow SEC rivals, the Tennessee Volunteers, in a close game that came down to the last possession. The Vols were terrible in the first half and still managed to make the game close at the end. However, bad calls by the referee for both teams marred the ending of the game, which led to a Michigan win. Remember, Kentucky beat Tennessee earlier in the season in Rupp 74-66.

En route to the Elite Eight, the Wildcats have not only defeated the No. 4 seeded Louisville Cardinals, but they scrapped past the No. 1 seeded Wichita State Shockers as well. The 78-76 victory over the Shockers and 74-69 comeback win over Louisville marked the surge that John Calipari’s team has shown since the late comeback to nearly knock off Florida in the SEC Championship game. The Wildcats have continuously shown that they are legitimate National Championship contenders.

The duo of Aaron and Andrew Harrison at guard, coupled with the duo of Julius Randle and Willie Cauley-Stein down-low, will be far too much for Michigan to handle; expect a Kentucky win. However, the Final Four won’t be enough for this team. The Wildcats started the season with National Championship expectations, and it is going to take a spectacular basketball team to end their title hopes.

Despite being seeded as a No. 8, the Wildcats should now be one of the favorites to win it all. Kentucky may have fallen out of the national spotlight after falling from their perch as the preseason No. 1 team in college basketball, but the Wildcats are more focused and more dangerous than ever. Next stop for Big Blue Nation – the Elite Eight.

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.