The Kentucky Wildcats are in a position to make history. The SEC powerhouse finished 31-0 in the regular season is likely to cruise through their conference championship as an undisputed No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, even if they were to somehow lose to one of the teams they’ve dominated during the regular season.
The question is: is Kentucky a sure thing? Today’s NCAA tournament betting odds say so, but what will happen when the stakes get higher and higher with every passing day? What will happen when the team is facing the rest of the best in the country, and can’t rely on dominating their opposition in every facet of the game?
Realistically, the Wildcats likely won’t be seriously challenged until one of the later rounds of the tournament anyhow. Kentucky rolls what is essentially two full starting lineups, so their players are always fresh and the team can always turn to the hot hand. As many as eight of Kentucky’s current roster could be drafted to the NBA in the next two years, so there is plenty of talent.
What’s possible is that one of the other truly elite teams in the tournament catch Kentucky on an off night (and it would have to be an off night) later in the tourney. Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky (who also happen to be the front runners for the Wooden Award for the nation’s best player) may be the only two men in the country who can disrupt Kentucky’s ridiculous dominance in the paint.
That makes the Blue Devils and Badgers the most dangerous teams in the tournament for the Wildcats, especially since those teams can also (on a good day) keep pace with Kentucky’s field goal shooting.
All that said, as Duke and Wisconsin are also both likely No. 1 seeds in the March Madness tournament, the earliest they’d meet Kentucky would be the Final Four, and knowing this event, it’s likely at least one of those challenges will have fallen by then.