Kentucky Will Win Tonight

1 Kentucky vs 2 Kansas

Prediction: Winner of this match and the NEW NCAA Champion, Kentucky

National Championship History (7-2 record): 1998, won against Utah (78-69); 1997, lost against Arizona (84-79); 1996, won against Syracuse (76-67); 1978, won against Duke (94-88); 1975, lost against UCLA (92-85); 1966, lost against Texas-El Paso1 (72-65); 1958, won against Seattle (84-72); 1951, won against Kansas State (68-58); 1949, won against Oklahoma State (46-36); and 1948, won against Baylor (58-42).

Kentucky hired John Calipari for nights just like these. The program stumbled in two seasons under Billy Gillispie, losing in the first round in 2008 and missing the tournament in 2009. Coach Cal became the hottest commodity in college basketball after coaching the Memphis Tigers to the most wins in Division I basketball history (382). In his introductory press conference, Calipari said he wanted to raise banners at UK and noted how the school only hangs championship banners. Tonight, Calipari can hang the eighth banner (his first) with a victory against Bill Self and Kansas.

Enter Self, the man KU hired to coach its program in 2003 after Roy Williams left for North Carolina weeks following his loss in the National Championship game to Syracuse. Self won his first and only National Championship against Calipari. Fueled by a game-tying three-pointer by Mario Chalmers with 2.9 seconds left in regulation, Self’s Jayhawks took off in overtime to win, 75-68.

It’s a neat storyline beneath an already enticing matchup of good shooting and rebounding teams.

Kentucky holds a victory against Kansas this season, a 75-65 affair in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden3. Kentucky will win again tonight. The Wildcats boast the 2012 Naismith Player of the Year, Anthony Davis. The freshman forward, who might as well be shopping for homes in the Charlotte area in anticipation of the NBA Draft, shot 66.7 and 87.5 percent from the field in Kentucky’s last two games. UK only runs six players deep, but all six can take over a game. It’s a luxury Kansas cannot match. If KU sets its sights on shutting Davis down, someone else will take the bulk of the offensive load. Pick your poison, Self. Do you want to fall to Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague, or Darius Miller?

Calipari assembled the best group to utilize his dribble drive offense. Tonight, he finally wins the big one and returns Kentucky to the top of college basketball.

Video proof Kentucky will win: Ashley Judd can coach.

Previous Kentucky previews: vs. Louisvillevs. Baylorvs. Indianavs. Iowa Statevs. Western Kentucky

1. Texas-El Paso was named Texas Western at the time.

2. The 2007-08 Memphis Tigers’ official record became 0-1, though, after the NCAA retroactively ruled the team’s star guard Derrick Rose was ineligible because of fraudulent SAT scores. The ruling came down in August 2009, four months after Calipari left for Kentucky and more than a year after Rose left for the NBA.

3. Although, I don’t think a win for Kentucky or a loss for Kansas in the second game of the regular season holds much merit.

2 Responses to “Kentucky Will Win Tonight”
  1. jefflaboon says:

    Scott is working on the Kansas post, so that’s why this is one is all about Kentucky. You’ll get all about KU later today.

    That being said, I’m not sold that Kansas is a more complete team. They have a slight advantage in assists and are definitely better at creating steals, but they’re also much more prone to turnovers.

    I don’t think the first game between these teams matters at all, honestly. It might as well have been last season. KU has adjusted to everything UK did well in that game, and vice versa.

    As for the zone, I don’t think it’s much of an issue. Kentucky plays excellent in transition. It’s hard for a defense to set up when the opposing offense isn’t running plays and running down the shot clock.

    Kansas just escaped Purdue and NC State, defeated UNC minus Kendall Marshall (best PG in the nation), and benefited from Ohio State pretty much heading back to the hotel at halftime. Kansas is good. They deserve to be where they are at the moment, but Kentucky’s offense is more potent. UK has cruised in its last five games and boasts a deeper rotation. While Kansas can get 10+ points from three players, Kentucky can get it from six (Miller averages 9.9 to be fair).

    It’s going to be an awesome game, but UK just has more weapons to choose from.

  2. JohnCassillo says:

    I see why there are a lot of reasons Kentucky will win (and I do believe they will, unfortunately), but you also fail to address any aspect of the current Kansas team beyond Bill Self. Last time out, UK doubled and tripled Robinson, and Taylor had a poor night from the floor — a perfect storm for a Jayhawks loss. Unlikely the Wildcats’ D pulls off a similar strategy tonight though, so then what? They can’t double both Robinson and Taylor all night. Plus, Kansas is much more of a complete team than Kentucky — though Kentucky has more talent, hands-down. Kansas has also been running more of a zone of late, something Kentucky hasn’t played extensively against.

    Like I said, not claiming Kansas will win, just saying there’s a lot more to the debate than you’re letting on (like the entire Kansas team, who are not mentioned here).

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