2011-12 Record: 36–2 (16–0 SEC)
Head Coach: John Calipari (4th Final Four)
Projected Starters: G – Doron Lamb (13.6 ppg, 73 3PM, 47.1 3P%), G – Marquis Teague (10.0 ppg, 4.8 apg), F – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (12.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg), F – Terrence Jones (12.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.8 bpg), C – Anthony Davis (14.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 4.6 bpg, 63.3 FG%)
Will win the national title if… Anthony Davis continues to dictate the game defensively and the rest of the Wildcats’ NBA talent plays unselfish offensively — which has resulted in alley-oops and wide open jump shots all season long. UK has the best team in the country this year; but the two most difficult tests of the season remain before Big Blue Nation can take over Bourbon Street.
Will lose to Louisville on Saturday if… coach John Calipari’s club loses focus in the circus atmosphere that will surely surround this in-state rivalry and rematch with former championship Kentucky boss Rick Pitino — who happens to be one of Coach Cal’s least favorite people, by all accounts. This isn’t just “any other game,” but the Wildcats would be well served by treating it as such.
Best Team: Kentucky
Biggest Upset: Lehigh over Duke
Most Surprising Team: Xavier
Most Disappointing Team: Duke
Best Player: Anthony Davis, Kentucky. Only knocking knees with Baylor’s Perry Jones III could slow down the nation’s premier player — who averaged 14.5 points, 11 rebounds and 4.5 blocks.
Honorable Mention: Quincy Acy, Baylor; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky; Pierre Jackson, Baylor; Cody Zeller, Indiana; Tu Holloway, Xavier; C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
Best Game: Lehigh 75, Duke 70, First Round — Coach K’s ACC power Blue Devils were not match for the Patriot League’s Mountain Hawks and C.J. McCollum, who scored 30 points in a shocking first-round bracket-buster in Greensboro, N.C.
Most Disappointing Game: Kentucky 82, Baylor 70, Elite Eight — Optimists hoped the athletic Bears could give the Wildcats a run for their money. Realists weren’t surprised when Kentucky led Baylor by 20 points at the half and never looked back.
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