Just how dominant can Kentucky basketball be?
By ANDREW MORRIS
College Contributor Network
True dominance in a sport is rarely achieved. There's always going to be that one ball, the one incompletion, the one missed free throw. But it is the chase of that perfect dominance that keeps players, teams, and fans in it. Of course there are teams that come very close to penetrating the proverbial bubble. For example, any perfect game in baseball, the "Dream Team" in the early 1990's, the Shula-led 1972 Dolphins, or maybe even the 2007 Patriots that were one sticky hand and helmet combo away from a perfecto.
So far, Kentucky men's basketball mauls the AP top 25 rankings every week and this week has no change to that trend. The Wildcats earned 62 of the available 65 first place votes. Sometimes it looks like Kentucky doesn't even try when they take the court, they are just that talented.
In classic John Calipari style, Kentucky came in with an obscene amount of five-star recruits and athletes and convinced them all to buy in to his two-team rotation idea. As is usual, one five-man team comes in to start, and one group comes in to backup. Not common is the talent on the backup rotation. Every player on the starting and backup group is a stud; the backup team could easily be a top 25 college team.
Although it's early in the year and sometimes preseason rankings tend to dominate the final season predictions, the Wildcats tore No. 5 Kansas apart on national TV on Nov. 18. The final score was 72-40 and it wasn't even close. A top team beat a fifth-ranked team by 32 points.
What's even scarier about this year's Kentucky team is how unique it is compared to other Calipari teams, but that's a good thing. Few times does Kentucky get recognized for its defense, and this year, defense is the shining headline for the Wildcats.
They eliminate passing lanes and suffocate other offenses with their long arms and height. 10 Wildcats are 6-foot-6 or taller and four of those are 6-foot-10 or taller. Go ahead and "try to play frisbee in a Redwood forest," as Jay Bilas said. They rank first in blocks, ninth in rebounds, and second in total points allowed. It's like when Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes first played against the Monstars in "Space Jam".
Friday, Kentucky takes on No. 6 Texas and I imagine the Longhorns will get thrashed. The game comes in the middle of a pre-conference schedule for Kentucky that includes UCLA, North Carolina, and Louisville. None of these teams are nearly as deep as the Wildcats.
My prediction is an undefeated season for Coach Cal's team and a relatively unscratched Madness record. In college basketball, size matters as well as skill and Kentucky has both of those two things in the bag. But who knows, there can always be a sneaky trap game. It's still very early in the year; we still have to turn in for the long winter months.
A few things about this team can trip them up, and it seems like it's the same set that every Calipari team has hanging over its head. What happens when middle-to-end-of-the-season pressure builds up on the freshmen youngsters? How do the high profile egos of all these five-star recruits mix together when they go through adversity? If any Calipari squad is built to very definitively answer these questions with victories, it's this one. Kentucky is primed to shoot into the all-time ranks for greatest college basketball team ever.
Andrew Morris is a sophomore at Syracuse University. People refer to him in the third person and he has an everlasting love for Orange, Major League Baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A's, Golden State Warriors, and Indianapolis Colts. Follow him on Twitter: @Andrewmo123