Can anyone beat Kentucky Wildcats?
Ross Castaldo, ‘Doah Staff Writer
March 4, 2015
The most exciting day in college sports is rapidly approaching. On Mar. 15, Selection Sunday for the NCAA basketball tournament takes place. 68 teams are told where they will be playing, and dreams of reaching the Final Four begins. As fans begin to look over the brackets, it appears that this season there is one question being asked. The question is not, “Who will win?” but rather “Can anyone unseat Kentucky?”
So far this year, the Kentucky Wildcats are having a historic season. They are undefeated and winning their games by large margins. Kentucky is cruising towards the tournament’s number one overall seed. Head Coach John Calipari and a squad that features a surplus of top NBA prospects look unstoppable. When the tournament tips off, the March Madness begins. Upsets can occur and often unknown or lightly regarded teams rise up and shock the world. That is why they play the games.
Despite Kentucky looking unbeatable, there are teams that may be able to challenge the Wildcats. The second ranked University of Virginia Cavaliers and number three ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs are two formidable teams that have their eyes on the title. The Cavaliers lead the ACC and look poised to snag a number one seed behind their top ranked defense and the three point shooting prowess of guard Justin Anderson. Gonzaga comes from a smaller conference than Kentucky or Virginia, but their team style of basketball and their top ranked field goal percentage will make them a difficult opponent in the tourney. Gonzaga’s team of sharp shooters looks ready to make a run to the Final Four. Other notable tournament favorites include the Big 12 powerhouse Kansas, the Big 10 favorite Wisconsin and the team with the country’s best player, Jahlil Okafor of Duke.
What most college basketball fans look for is who can be the Cinderella team, the team the busts everyone’s brackets and gives March Madness its name. This year has a few teams who could make some noise. Teams that fit this category include the Butler Bulldogs, VCU Rams and the Wichita State Shockers. Butler and VCU are both teams with the reputation of busting brackets and are both determined to do it again. Wichita State last year’s number one overall seed is looking to bounce back from their disappointing showing in last year’s tournament. All of those teams have something to prove and will give it their all on the hardwood. The most popular choice to be the Cinderella team of 2015 is the Northern Iowa Panthers. Northern Iowa boasts of the fourth highest ranked defense in the country and a highly efficient offense. They could be the tournament’s most dangerous team.
The magic of March Madness is that it is a one and done tournament. A bad game could end a team’s season. To win the tournament, a team must win six tough games over three weekends. The road to the Final Four is paved with defense, rebounding, passing, three point shots and clutch free throw shooting. This year, the road to the NCAA Basketball Championship will most certainly have to go through Kentucky and the undefeated Wildcats.