As usual, Kentucky will have talent, and Kentucky will have guards.
Now, Kentucky will have experience.
On Friday, Andrew and Aaron Harrison announced they would return to Kentucky for their sophomore seasons, meaning only Julius Randle and James Young will head to the NBA Draft from a team that reached the national title game.
On Saturday, the state of Alabama will celebrate perhaps its favorite sport second only to college football — spring football. Even on A-Day at Auburn, the Tigers have reason for optimism beyond the team that reached the BCS Championship Game in January.
Let’s take a moment and be thankful this season didn’t turn out for Kentucky the way many predicted.
How boring would all this be if Kentucky were a top seed, a team whose trip to the national championship game felt like a formality?
Instead, Kentucky has given the NCAA Tournament one of the most thrilling runs in NCAA Tournament history. Five games decided by seven points or fewer, the last three on late 3-pointers by Aaron Harrison.
Not many teams can say they’ve defeated every team on their schedule.
If Florida make it to Monday night (and so does Wisconsin), the Gators can say they’ve answered all comers even if they've lost twice this season.
In an odd turn of events, the only two teams that defeated Florida during the course of the season, Wisconsin and Connecticut, are in the Final Four. The third team, Kentucky, is one Florida has faced three times the year. Beat UConn and Wisconsin, and Florida can say it defeated everyone on its schedule at least once.
Coaches in the Final Four by now have completed the scouting process and are starting to implement the game plans they hope will lead to a national championship. If you’re wondering what the coaches are seeing, Athlon Sports hopes to offer some insight. We spoke to coaches who compiled scouting reports for teams that faced the Final Four teams either during the NCAA Tournament or during the season. In exchange for more candor, we quoted the coaches anonymously.
The freshman class will be present and accounted for in the Final Four, even if it’s not in the way anyone would have predicted.
The high school graduating class of 2013 will have more players in Dallas than any other class, but their roles will vary wildly.
Of the 13 freshmen in the Final Four, seven are from Kentucky. Five of those are playing major minutes. The other freshmen, whether three-star rookies for Wisconsin or McDonald’s All-Americans for Florida, are playing supporting roles.
Nothing has come easy for Kentucky this season, especially not in the NCAA Tournament.
Sunday featured another Wildcats Tournament game, another thrilling finish.
Aaron Harrison’s game-winning 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds sent Kentucky to the Final Four with a 75-72 win over Michigan. Despite slipping to the NIT last season Kentucky has played in the Final Four in three of the last four seasons, including the 2012 national title.