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NCAA News Updates

Posted by Betonline Team on 4/13/2016 6:05:42 AM

The University of Kentucky isn’t being talked about as much as other teams heading into the NCAA tournament. But people should be.

The Wildcats flew under the radar, which is a flight pattern they are not accustomed to. The Wildcats do not have five superstar freshmen awaiting the NBA. They are not very big. They are not really deep. And they’re led by a tiny point guard that stands just 5-foot-9.

However, Tyler Ulis was the SEC Most Valuable Player after his magnificent 30-point performance against Texas [email protected] in an 82-77 overtime victory. In just three games of the tournament he scored 72 points, passed for 15 assists and committed just four turnovers. He teams with Jamal Murray to form the best backcourt in the country.

That is why the Wildcats are dangerous. More importantly, they are healthy and head coach John Calipari won’t let the foot off the gas when his team is up double digits as they have been before. Kentucky enters the tournament as a No. 4 seed and faces No. 13 Stony Brook in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Des Moines, Iowa.

“We are big again,” Calipari said.

This is his way of saying his team is healthy and a run could be coming.

Kentucky should handle Stony Brook easily. Everybody is pointing to a second-round game against Indiana, another traditional power and rival they rarely face on the court.

Derek Will (ankle) is back after missing three games while Dominique Hawkins might not be totally healthy due to a series of leg injuries but is expected to play. Also, freshman center Skal Labissiere finally figured things out and Kentucky is playing its best basketball.

The Wildcats started Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray, Isaiah Briscoe, Alex Poythress and Labissiere for just the eighth time this year against Texas [email protected] in the SEC tournament final. The Wildcats are 7-1 with this lineup. Kentucky overcame two 10-point deficits to run away with the game 93-80 in Nashville and ran its record to 40-2 in conference semifinal games.

Injuries are not a good thing for teams, but the Wildcats used them to give players experience. They won’t be intimidated if they are thrown into a big spot during the tournament.

“When you’re playing five guys and two play bad, you just lost,” Calipari said. “Last year’s team we were so deep, three and four guys could play awful and you still had five to play with. So we’re a deep team but again, our top five or six are going to play the more minutes, but the other guys now know because of that, it’s kind of played well for us.”

The Wildcats will win through teamwork more than talent. This is a team that has placed NBA players DeMarcus Cousins, Brandon Knight, John Wall and Anthony Davis into the league.

This is a tradition-rich program that threatens to win a national title every season. UK leads the NCAA all-time wins list with 2,204 victories and ranks number one in win percentage (.764). It also ranks number one in NCAA tournament appearances (55), tournament wins (120), Sweet 16 appearances (41) and is second only to UCLA in NCAA championships with eight.

It will be quite the challenge to advance far into the tournament, especially with Big Ten regular season champion Indiana looming around the corner.

However, the tournament comes at a good time and the Wildcats are ready to roll.


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