Blog Entry

UK can shoot its way to Final Four

Posted on: December 31, 2010 3:45 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 3:52 pm
 
Kentucky doesn't have five first-round picks on this team.

Three, probably.

But definitely not five.

So by that measuring stick this season's Kentucky team isn't nearly as talented as last season's Kentucky team, and yet I won't be surprised if this season's Kentucky team goes farther than last season's Kentucky team, which is to say all the way to the Final Four. They're young, sure, but they play with a unique level of maturity. Also:
  1. They're really athletic.
  2. They can really guard.
  3. They can really shoot.
(I like No. 3 the most.)

John Calipari has had four teams earn No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament.

They were:
  • UMass (1995-96)
  • Memphis (2005-06)
  • Memphis (2007-08)
  • Kentucky (2009-10)
Two of those teams made the Final Four (although both appearances were later vacated) and two did not, and the two that didn't lost in similar fashion, i.e., as favorites who couldn't make a gosh darn jumpshot. The 2005-06 Tigers shot 35 percent from 3-point range on the season and lost 50-45 to UCLA in the Elite Eight because they finished 2-of-17 from beyond the arc. The 2009-10 Wildcats shot 33 percent from 3-point range on the season and lost 73-66 to West Virginia in the Elite Eight because they finished 4-of-32 from beyond the arc. In other words, Calipari's two No. 1 seeds that lost in the Elite Eight lost because they shot just 12 percent on 3-pointers in Elite Eight games, which is both an astounding statistic and something I can't see happening to his latest dynamic team that looked great in Friday's 78-63 win at Louisville.

The Wildcats aren't the nation's best 3-point shooting team.

But they're in the top 20.

Kentucky is shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range as a team and has two guards -- Doron Lamb (54.9 percent) and Darius Miller (47.4 percent) -- making about 50 percent of their 3-point attempts; Brandon Knight (38.3 percent) and DeAndre Liggins (36.1 percent) provide two more capable shotmakers. So is this the type of team that's going to miss 88 percent of its 3-point attempts in an important game? No, I don't think it is. And that's why it might be wise to call the Wildcats the SEC favorite and add them to the list of serious Final Four candidates.

They won't have five first first-round draft picks like last season's team.

I assure you of that.

But the less-talented Wildcats might be good enough to play for a national title, regardless.
Comments

Since: Mar 17, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2010 4:54 pm
 

UK can shoot its way to Final Four

We were just saying during today's game that wouldn't it be wierd if this year's team goes farther than last year's team.



Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: December 31, 2010 4:36 pm
 

UK can shoot its way to Final Four

Yep, I agree the UK is the favorite to win the 2011 National Championship.


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