Not to overstate the obvious, but how excellent is it that Kentucky has four college basketball programs participating in the men’s NCAA Tournament.
I feel for Western Kentucky. They found a way to win that play-in game, and were rewarded with a trip to Louisville to play the state’s Big Dog and number one overall seed in the tournament, the Kentucky Wildcats.
Hey they get a fair shot at the king. What else can a team ask for. It’s immediate gratification if the Hilltoppers can pull off the upset. Beating Kentucky isn’t like upsetting Gonzaga. Putting down the Wildcats sends reverberations around the country – especially this year. But that is a tall order to ask of a Western team with a 16-18 record.
Murray State has been a story all year. They very nearly went undefeated, if not for a four point loss to Tennessee State. The Racers have since avenged that loss twice over. Yes the Ohio Valley Conference is a tad suspect, but they’ve beaten Western Kentucky, Southern Miss, and Memphis – all teams that made the field of 64.
Murray State can play some ball.
Louisville has a nice team. They’re offensively challenged at times but Rick Pitino has them playing to their strengths and they don’t make a lot of mistakes. The Cards are hot coming into the tournament and are poised to make some noise if they get the right draw.
Kentucky has been the steadiest team all year. It’s a matter of whether raw skill can overcome the Kitty Cat’s inexperience. These guys have a great attitude it appears and want to win – even at the expense of their own egos.
The skill and ability is certainly there for Kentucky to hang its eighth championship banner if the Cats can manage to stay out of harm’s way.
The jury remains undecided on who the ball goes to when Kentucky must to have a basket. There’s plenty of guys on this team with the stones to take the shot – it’s just unclear if they can actually hit it.
Regardless, today is a great day to be a fan of college basketball in the Bluegrass State.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
(11) Colorado State v. (6) Murray State 12:15 PM ET
(13) Davidson v. (4) Louisville 1:40 PM ET
(16) Western Kentucky v. (1) University of Kentucky 6:50 PM ET