The University of Kentucky has a long-standing tradition of being one of the most dominant programs in college basketball history. With eight national championships and a ninth on the horizon, the Wildcats could go down this season as one of the greatest teams to hit the hardwood. Ten players on the roster are the height of 6’6” or over, with two seven-footers to compile one tall team.
That team is off to a 26-0 start—the best in school history––and it shows no signs of slowing down. The Wildcats have won their games by an average of over 21 points, which is the best in Division I. Kentucky was the only team that held a National Basketball Association pro day at the beginning of the season, when NBA scouts came to Kentucky’s workout facility for two days and examined all the players on the team––each of whom is currently capable of playing on an NBA team.
The pressing question the college basketball world wants to know, however, is who can beat Kentucky? Will they lose in one of their last five regular season games? Will they lose in the Southeastern Conference Tournament? Maybe even get upset by an underdog in the NCAA Tournament?
For now, however, UK is rolling with no signs of slowing down. What makes the team so special is the ability to put any of its players in the game at any given time to a positive end. Head coach John Calipari is well aware of this, saying, “It wasn’t substitutes [that won us the game], it was reinforcements.”
Kentucky started the season with a “platoon” system where every five minutes, five players sub in replacing the other five players on the court. The scary part about this system is that it leaves Kentucky with a consistent attack—one that teams simply cannot compete against, let alone simulate in practice.
There has been buzz regarding the question of if this team could beat the worst teams in the NBA, or even compete in the NBA. According to his Twitter, however, Calipari doesn’t think so.
“I hear [Georgetown College head coach Chris] Briggs got excited after the game last night,” Calipari wrote. “Let me be clear: If we played ANY NBA team, we would get buried.” This statement came after Kentucky beat small NAIA school Georgetown College 121-52 in an exhibition game. Briggs said that if Kentucky played how they did against them all season, then they would be an NBA playoff team.
Kentucky should enjoy its moment in the spotlight at the top of college hoops. And as fans, we should enjoy the fact that we might never see a team dominate the game as Wildcats have this season. The real question come March is which NCAA Tournament team will take second place?