Cat Scratch Fever!

Last Updated: March 26th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)

In and amongst all of the talk about the teams like the #10 St. Mary’s Gaels, the #9 Northern Iowa Panthers, and the #5 Butler Bulldogs, hidden in the East Bracket, there’s a team that has been kicking butt and taking no prisoners, and seemingly no one is talking about them.

Is that because they a… dare I say… favorite? Is it because they are a flashy team and they do have talent? Is it because you have heard of their superstars and their head coach? Or is it because they’re a #1 seed and are expected to march through to the Elite 8 without any difficulties?

Regardless of what the circumstance is, the #1 Kentucky Wildcats have mowed down all three of their opponents without any hassles, and it’s time to recognize that this is their NCAA Tournament to lose.

There aren’t many teams in the country that can absolutely win games when two of their best three players are essentially MIA. There are even fewer that can beat a Sweet 16 foe by 17 points, even if that opponent is “just” an Ivy League team.

On Thursday night, G John Wall only scored eight points, and his counterpart F DeMarcus Cousins tallied nine. That duo is averaging nearly 32 points per game this year.

It’s not like anyone else had a truly remarkable game, either. F Patrick Patterson’s 16 points was only a shade above his season average, and G Eric Bledsoe’s dozen was right on par with his normal night.

But HC John Calipari, in spite of the fact that he has never won a National Championship (or for that matter, had one vacated), knows that you’re going to have to find ways to look like you’re at your best, even when you’re not at your best in this tournament.

That’s exactly what the Cats have done so far in this tournament.

It’s amazing to think that none of Kentucky’s big three have gone off for more than 22 points in a game in the dance (and aside from Patterson’s 22 against #16 East Tennessee State, there hasn’t even been a 20 point game in the bunch either). Yet still, the 17 point margin of victory against the Big Red was easily the smallest of its three. The Wildcats have averaged beating their three March Madness competitors by an average of 25.3 points per game, easily the biggest average margin of victory in the dance.

Now, it’s true that the SEC champs haven’t run up against a foe that anyone really believed could win the whole enchilada yet, but it’s noteworthy to get this far in a tournament that has resembled trying to get through a minefield.

Ask #1 Syracuse or #1 Kansas or #2 Villanova or #3 Georgetown what it’s like running up against opponents that probably have no chance of winning the National Championship.

The #2 West Virginia Mountaineers will stand in the way of the mighty Wildcats on Saturday afternoon for the right to go to the Final Four.

Comments (Using Facebook)

Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Friday, March 26th, 2010 @ 5:02 am (EST)
Comment on This NCAA Basketball Article (Using Your Facebook) Below

Comments (Must Use Facebook)