This is the third in a series of stories on the Kentucky season with various media members offering their insights as UK gets set to start NCAA play.
Question: Do you see any scenario where UK could make the Final Four this year after starting the season No. 1?
Ryan Lemond: “Not a chance in France. Only if all the other teams come down with a month long flu bug. There is no way this team has showed me anything to indicate they are a final four team, especially finishing out the season losing three of their last four and nearly four of their last five. No way.”
Larry Glover: “For UK to make the Final Four, they would need a really favorable draw in terms of match ups and the region would need to fall apart a little bit. They also needed to escape the dreaded 7 to 10 seed zone. If so, they would avoid 1 and 2 seeded teams in the first weekend. That would be a big help.”
Keith Taylor: “No. They would have to make a total transformation from the last two weeks of the season. They haven’t fared well against ranked teams. Do not see any reason to believe it all changes now, especially if opposing teams apply consistent pressure and get the Cats rattled.”
Tyler Thompson: “I think the only way it could have happened is if they won the SEC Tournament. For a group this young, momentum is everything. In my opinion, 95 percent of this team’s problems have been mental, which is completely understandable given their youth and the unreasonable expectations. For this group, it’s never ‘can they beat someone,’ it’s ‘will they beat someone,’ and if they had banded together to win the SEC, they may have finally cleared that mental hurdle and realized their full potential.”
Mary Jo Perino: “No, just being honest. The blueprint on how to beat UK is already out there and established, as much as that pains me to say.”
Mark Buerger: “None. They have shown no sign that they can put together any kind of run, especially against better teams.”
Jennifer Palumbo: “If nothing else, this college basketball season shows anything can happen. At the beginning of the season, who said the only undefeated team would be Wichita State? I’m not saying UK will be in the Final Four, but why not?”
Tom Leach: “Yes. Several times this season, I have cited Kentucky’s record in comparison to Michigan’s Fab Five group of 1992 (the only team to start five freshmen in a national championship game). The overall records and the records against quality teams are quite similar and that ’92 Michigan team seemed to catch fire in the NCAA Tournament and each win fed their momentum. And that Michigan group was a 6-seed that year. The odds are against UK making that kind of run but could it happen? Absolutely. The seed is not as big a deal if the team gets its game right and we certainly saw signs of that last week in Atanta.”