We are now in the waning moments of the college basketball regular season, which is usually the time when we all start to look ahead to March Madness. While there are a bunch of teams who need a strong finish to the season and a good run in the conference tournaments, there are also teams that have already done more than enough to punch their playoff tickets.
One of those teams would be the Kentucky Wildcats, a perennial college basketball betting favorite who is currently sitting in the #6 spot in the national rankings. The feeling this year is that the tournament is going to be wide open, with Kentucky one of a handful of teams with a legitimate shot at winning it all. The question now is whether they can take a run at another national title.
Is #6 Kentucky a Winning Pick for the 2019 March Madness Tournament?
They made their minds up, dismissed us. That only made us stronger.Now it’s March. And we’re here. https://t.co/rmLvvxgsrC pic.twitter.com/JBgeLNxqpx— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) 1 de marzo de 2019
A History of Tournament Success
Given the turnover rates in the college game, it’s easy to argue that past history means little when talking about any team this season. That said, though, there are certain programs that always seem to be able to reload and stay relevant year after year. Kentucky is absolutely one of those teams.
They have, over the years, made the tournament no less than 57 times and going on to win it 8 times. The last of those wins came back in 2012, but let’s not also forget that they have been close a lot, getting to the Final Four on 17 different occasions, posting a record of 126-51 overall in tournament play. If history means anything, then you need to look at the Kentucky Wildcats.
Is the Pressure Off?
There is a certain amount of pressure that comes with being one of the top-ranked teams in the country, and while Kentucky is in that mix, they are not the favorites for the national title. The general consensus is that this is Duke’s title to lose this year, which takes a lot of the pressure off of other teams and places it squarely on the shoulders of the Blue Devils.
You can bet that coach John Calipari will be playing that angle up with his players, telling them that they are not getting the respect they deserve. That is not entirely true, but it could help drive his team to another deep run.
Their Record Versus Ranked OpponentsThis is where things start to get a little dodgy for the Wildcats, as they are currently sitting with a 4-3 record versus ranked opposition this season.
There are a couple of standout results, one good and one bad, among that record. The bad was a 118-84 loss to Duke in the opening game of the season, while the good was an 86-69 win over Tennessee, a win that knocked the Volunteers out of the #1 spot for good. They will need to be better against the good teams if they want to take a run at the national title.
It’s tough to make any solid predictions without getting a look at the bracket, but I am of the belief that the Wildcats are going to come up short this season, with a trip to the Elite Eight my pick for this bunch.