Kentucky is Still Kentucky, No Doubt At All NCAA Hoops Odds Fans

Posted by Daniel Strum on November 19, 2015 in

If NCAA Basketball odds fans thought that the Kentucky Wildcats would have to struggle through a rebuilding year after making it to the national semifinal last season, think again. The #2 Wildcats just walloped #5 Duke in the Champions Classic at the United Center in Chicago by a 74-63 score that does not show the true domination that the Wildcats applied to the Blue Devils. Kentucky went 38-1 last season, and coach John Calipari just might have put together another team that will make a deep run into March Madness, if not carry home the whole thing.

Jamal Murray, Tyler Ulis and Isaiah Briscoe combined for 46 points in the rout. Marcus Lee showed prowess on both ends, with 10 points, 10 boards and a couple of blocks. The Wildcats applied all sorts of defensive pressure on Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen, both slated to be NBA prospects but who combined in this game to go 3 for 17.

Kentucky is Still Kentucky, All NCAA Hoops Odds Fans Know It

It’s true that this is Week 1 of a long NCAA basketball season. A lot of the noise that people are making now will be heading toward other teams in February and March. Over the course of the marathon that is the basketball season, some teams and players will come unglued, while others will jell more convincingly over time. It might well be that Kentucky’s mastering of Duke was a flash in the pan.

But then you remember that Kentucky has been to four of the last five Final Fours. All of his teams have the same characteristics: cohesion, depth in the paint, length, elite talent, unforgiving defense and courageous ballhandlers. Take a look at Isaac Humphries, an Australian import who stands seven feet tall and swatted two Duke shots. Remember those people who said the Wildcats didn’t have enough depth up front to win a title?

Even Their Rivals Admit It, Kentucky is Kentucky

As Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told ESPN after the game, “Kentucky’s a really good team and very well-coached. You can’t win games unless you respond to that.” It looks like Duke will need to find a different way to respond if they meet in the Big Dance. Three games into the season, Kentucky is the best defensive team in the nation. Ulis is one of the nation’s best point guards. Murray is one of the best players out there. Calipari is the best coach at rebooting each year, bringing in kids who are 18 and 19 and who will, in most cases, only play for him for one season. After the NBA draft each year, he brings in more talent to put together a team that will be great.

Here’s how Calipari put it with, “If we really bounce and play off one another, we’re going to be really good. If we don’t, we’re going to be an average team.” This is the challenge that Calipari faces every year: to cobble together another group of one-and-dones and sell them on the idea of marketing themselves for the draft by playing under his system. The longer it works, the longer it will keep working.