Here’s Why Kentucky Will Not be NCAA ’19 Champions
The Kentucky Wildcats are the most successful college basketball team in NCAA history. They have the most all-time wins and the highest all-time winning percentage. But this isn’t Kentucky’s year. Here’s why the Wildcats don’t have what it takes to be the last team standing in March Madness 2019.
Too many threes
Kentucky’s defense against the deep ball needs to improve. The Wildcats are in the bottom half of all Division I teams when it comes to opponent’s three-point percentage. Opposing teams hit more than 34.7 percent of their threes against the Wildcats in the regular season.
Coach John Calipari went as far as saying this was the worst defensive team that he’s had so far in Lexington. And while many have complimented the Wildcats for improving their defense, their 3-point D has been trending in the wrong direction. It doesn’t bode well for the Wildcats if they can’t defend against the deep ball.
Not enough threes
Three-pointers are important. To go deep in the NCAA Tournament, teams must be able to stop them and make them. Kentucky struggles with both. The Wildcats only hit about six 3-pointers per game.
This is one of the reasons why winning this year’s NCAA Tournament is a far reach: they don’t hit a lot of threes because they don’t attempt a lot of threes.
The team finished last in the SEC regular season in total shots taken from a distance. Kentucky’s roster is lacking long-range shooters and tends to lean on isolation and dribble-drive setups on offense. But that brings us to another one of the team’s weaknesses.
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Wildcats’ questionable point guard play
One of the Wildcats’ biggest weaknesses is an apparent lack of experience in the backcourt.
Kentucky took a hit when sophomore Quade Green decided to transfer to the Washington Huskies. He was able to shoot and distribute the ball, two things the Wildcats have sorely missed.
John Calipari’s teams have relied heavily on point guard play throughout his tenure at Kentucky. Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson are dangerous with the ball, but neither averages more than 2.3 assists per game. Plus, both guards are freshmen.
This year’s batch of Wildcats doesn’t have a pure passer who would consistently look for open teammates first before trying to get his own buckets.
Without a battle-tested starting guard to run the show, March Madness 2019 could be over pretty quick for the Cats.
The Kentucky Wildcats are a better team than most others that would make it to March Madness, that’s why they’re one of the top 10 favorites this year. But winning the national tournament takes more than just skill and talent.
A lot of times, momentum and luck play a huge factor. It’s for the same reason why Kentucky won’t likely win the tourney or go deep.
These are what you should consider when predicting Kentucky’s run if you’re joining some brackets this year. If you need a refresher on how to play the brackets, check out Nitrogen Sports Blog’s March Madness brackets guide.
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