The more I see the Kentucky Wildcats play, the more they continue to impress me. It's not their #4 ranking that has me thinking how far they could go in March, but it's how their team is really starting to gel. It's the fact that three of their top four scorers are Freshmen, but they don't play like it. Although it's still early December, the Wildcats are looking like a determined team. This is probably the last year for Junior Forward Patrick Patterson, but also the only year for Freshman Guard John Wall and Freshman Forward DeMarcus Cousins. From what I've seen so far, Kentucky will be around playing in Indianapolis in April. Here are a few reasons why:
John Wall has become one of the star players in the nation with his exceptional play- running the fast-break, weaving in between defenders, shaking them off one-by-one with his ball moves, and finishing with a punishing dunk or a dish to an open teammate. It's difficult enough to find one defender to match-up with the 6'4" lightning quick Guard, but then to find another to defend 6'1" Eric Bledsoe, is going to be almost impossible. Both Freshman Guards have good size, great athleticism and are two of the quickest players in the nation with the ball in their hands. When either of these two players get out and run in transition, teams had better watch out.
The force of DeMarcus Cousins, standing at 6'11", 260 pounds, and Patrick Patterson, 6'9", 235, is perhaps the top frontcourt tandem in the nation. They can score inside (collectively shooting 57.9% from the floor) or from outside (8 - 17 combined from 3-point range) as they put up over 30 points per game; they are grabbing almost 18 rebounds per game between the two or them while also swatting away more than 3 shots per game. Cousins has struggled with foul trouble early in this college season, but then Coach Calipari can bring in another top-15 player from the Class of 2009, 6'10", 255 pound Center Daniel Orton. Kentucky's frontline is extremely tough to deal with because of its depth, the player's versatility and pure size and strength.
The Wildcats schedule sets up nicely. Beginning with Austin Peay next week, Kentucky has six straight home games before heading on the road for SEC play against Florida and Auburn.
If this Calipari-team plays like his past teams, not only will they have a deep run into the NCAA Tournament in March, but they should lose a few players to the 1st Round of the NBA Draft come late June.