Found March 12, 2012 on SCACC Hoops:
It seems like only yesterday that North Carolina and Michigan State tipped off the season on the USS Carl Vinson. The four months of basketball that followed now seem like a blur. If you thought the regular season went by fast, just wait for the next three weeks. The NCAA Tournament is my favorite sporting event, bar none. When CBS fires up its theme music and Greg Gumbel greets the millions of us all skipping the more “important” duties of our lives to tune in at noon on Thursday, I get goose bumps every time. As we prepare for the 2012 edition of the big dance, it is sure to be as dramatic and memorable as ever. I can’t wait. Here’s the first of four regional installments in my NCAA Tournament preview.  Read at your own discretion. SOUTH REGION Top Seed: Kentucky The selection committee did the Wildcats no favors by placing several potential landmines in their path to a Final Four. A possible second-round match-up with a loaded but disappointing Connecticut team will quickly put the overall No. 1 seed to the test. The Huskies are one of very few teams who can match the Wildcats talent and size inside. Anthony Davis is the future No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, but he’ll go up against Andre Drummond, who many believe will be picked immediately after Davis. The Huskies lost nine of 12 games during one stretch late in the season, but that was when Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun was absent for medical reasons. Calhoun’s back on the sideline, and Connecticut won two games in the Big East Tournament before losing by just three points to Syracuse. This is the most dangerous Round-of-32 game possible for Kentucky. The Wildcats boast five, if not six, future NBA first round picks. Davis is the unquestioned star, averaging a team-high 14.3 points, 10 rebounds and 4.6 blocks. Terrence Jones is a stretch-four forward who creates match-up problems for opponents with his blend of size and explosiveness. Doron Lamb is the team’s three-point marksman, shooting a ridiculous 46 percent from long range. Lamb is the key beneficiary of opponents clamping down on the paint to contain Davis and Jones. If Kentucky has a weakness, it’s that freshman point guard Marquis Teague can be erratic at times as a ball handler. His 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio was 13th in the SEC and 255th nationally. Fortunately for the Wildcats, there isn’t a team in the region that plays great high-pressure defense, so their biggest flaw isn’t likely to be exposed in the first two weekends. First-round upset picks: (9) UConn over (8) Iowa State (14) South Dakota State over (3) Baylor (10) Xavier over (7) Notre Dame UConn over Iowa State barely qualifies as an upset, but the Huskies have enough talent to win a national championship. While another miracle run like last year won’t happen, they seem to have at least somewhat settled their differences and are playing the best basketball they have in more than two months. A lot of folks will want to pick VCU over Wichita State in the 5/12 match-up. I think that’s a sucker pick. The Rams are deep, hungry and getting hot at the right time (sound familiar?), but this is not the same team that made the Final Four last season. This team doesn’t shoot threes nearly as well as the 2011 team did, which was the main reason for their Cinderella run. The Shockers are extremely well coached by Gregg Marshall and, being a mid-major themselves, won’t be caught napping by a perfectly capable underdog like so many early-round favorites usually are. The Shockers are for real. Baylor is an interesting case. The Bears have NBA-ready talent in Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy and Quincy Jones. Only Kentucky and North Carolina boast comparable athleticism in their starting five. However, inconsistency has plagued the Bears all season. Poor shot selection and long defensive lapses left everyone wondering why this team wasn’t more dominant. That said, they beat the teams they were supposed to beat but couldn’t come through against the best competition they faced. Their worst loss came by one to Kansas State at home. South Dakota State isn’t a surefire upset pick by any means, but the Jack Rabbits boast a high-scoring shooting guard in Nate Wolters who scores 21.3 points per game. He topped 30 points six times this season. The Jack Rabbits win by asking Wolters to penetrate and kick out to a plethora of three-point gunners if he can’t get an open look himself. The Rabbits have four players in their main rotation who shoot better than 40 percent from three. If they’re hot against Baylor, it will be upset city. I’ll probably go back and forth on this on up until Thursday, but now you know to at least be wary of Wolters and company. Xavier is one of the more disappointing teams this season. An ugly brawl at the end of its loss to Cincinnati in early December derailed the Musketeers’ season. They managed to rally and sneak in as an at-large. Tu Holloway is Xavier’s enigmatic leader and a future pro. Notre Dame plays at a painfully slow pace, which is never a formula for success in March. I like Xavier to move on before falling to Duke on Sunday in Greensboro. Cinderella: None
If South Dakota State beats Baylor, they could just as easily knock off UNLV (which is an absolute lock to beat Colorado, in my opinion) in the Round of 32, though I think the Runnin’ Rebels will make the Sweet 16. Otherwise, there’s still the outside chance UConn beats Kentucky. Otherwise, it seems like Duke and Kentucky have as good a chance as any of the top two seeds from the other regions to meet in the Elite Eight. Best player: Anthony Davis, Kentucky Already took care of most of this earlier, but Davis is the best player in America. His ability to completely alter the game defensively is the biggest reason why Kentucky lost just one game in the regular season. Despite his lanky frame, he can absorb contact and finish around the rim, not to mention he is always quicker than hisdefender. He’ll face plenty of double teams during the Wildcats’ march towards a title. John Calipari knows how valuable Davis is to that run. Over the last few weeks, he’s put Davis on the second team in practice to simulate what it would be like if Davis gets in foul trouble. That is undoubtedly the Wildcats’ biggest concern moving forward. Regional Final Prediction: Kentucky over Duke I wanted to pick Duke for an early exit, I really did. They rely much too heavily on the outside shot and are shaky at times on the glass. I’m also scared that Austin Rivers will think this is his time to shine and disrupt everything the Blue Devils want to do offensively. However, Duke got an extremely favorable draw. If they face Baylor in the Sweet 16 it will pose problems, but I just don’t see the Bears making it that far. Besides, this match-up would mark the 20-year anniversary of the teams meeting in the Elite Eight when Christian Laettner offered up one of the most lasting images in NCAA Tournament history with his last-second turnaround jumper to beat the Wildcats. If both teams do indeed make it to the regional final, expect enough media coverage in the two days leading up to the game to make Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow jealous. The Wildcats have too many weapons for Duke to contain. The Blue Devils are a mediocre defensive team, especially on the perimeter. They get beat off the dribble at an alarmingly high rate in addition to giving up tons of open looks from three. As mentioned earlier, the way to beat Kentucky is by bottling them up on the outside and making it difficult to get good looks into the post for Davis. Kentucky is a terrible match-up for Duke, and it will show as the Wildcats will earn a second straight trip to the Final Four.     This article was originally published at http://ACCMania.wordpress.com. If you are interested in sharing your website's content with SCACCHoops.com, Contact Us.  
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES
ONE PROUD MAMA

Anthony Davis' mom wears unibrow mask

Yes, that is the mother of Anthony Davis and yes she is wearing a little white batman style mask. His dad also looks like he is missing some teeth. What can you expect from a Kentucky team? In the last game of the SEC Tournament, the Vanderbilt Commodores took on the Kentucky Wildcats for the crown. It’s selection Sunday, so be prepared to see if your team made it into the NCAA...

Anthony Davis’ mom wears a unibrow mask (Picture)

Now that’s what I call a proud mama. The Anthony Davis unibrow has become a symbol of success for the 2011-2012 Kentucky Wildcats, who are a team that many experts believe will cut down the nets at the beginning of April. On Sunday during the SEC Conference championship, Davis’ mother decided to get in on the fun by busting out the unibrow mask to rag on support her son. Vanderbilt...

Kentucky’s Anthony Davis Unibrow Mask

The Kentucky Wildcats’ Anthony Davis is projected to be the #1 pick in next spring’s NBA draft and is the favorite to win the Player of the Year award. Not only is Davis impressive on the court, but he rocks a pretty a strong unibrow. Certain social media users like to clown on Davis’ brow,...Read the Rest...

Kentucky's Davis wins Tisdale Award

Kentucky forward Anthony Davis is the winner of the Wayman Tisdale Award, presented by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association to the national freshman of the year. The 6-foot-10 native of Chicago led the Wildcats to a 32-2 record and No. 1 ranking, averaging 14.3 points and 10.0 rebounds while shooting 64.2 percent from the field, second-best in the nation, and leading the country...

Future #1 NBA draft pick Anthony Davis: mom celebrates his wicked unibrow

Kentucky Wildcats super freshman Anthony Davis is the best player in college basketball right now. He’s got fame up the wazoo, and he’ll soon have millions of dollars when he becomes the #1 pick in the NBA Draft this June. Oh wait, he plays for John Calipari, meaning he’s already likely getting paid lots of money….hey, hey! No of course, I kid Calipari and his recruits. I’m...

Bow to the brow

Pic courtesy of Yahoo! SportsThere's nothing like a bond between a mother and her child. Seen above is Mrs. Davis, proud mom of SEC POY and future overall #1 NBA Draft pick Anthony Davis, sporting a striking similarity of her teenage son. The elder Davis recently wore a mask resembling her son's bushy eyebrow-style to the SEC Tournament in a show of support. Despite her ...

No. 1 Kentucky 74, No. 22 Florida 71

Anthony Davis had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and No. 1 Kentucky held off Florida 74-71 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament. Terrence Jones added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats (32-1), who've won 24 straight games. Doron Lamb scored 16 points and Marquis Teague added 15, with each hitting a pair of key free throws in the last...

No. 1 Kentucky pushes win streak to 24

Anthony Davis had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats held off Florida 74-71 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament. Terrence Jones added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats (32-1), who've won 24 straight games. Doron Lamb scored 16 points and Marquis Teague added 15, with each hitting a pair of key free...

Florida edged late by Kentucky in SEC semis

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Anthony Davis had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and No. 1 Kentucky held off Florida 74-71 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament. Terrence Jones added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats (32-1), who've won 24 straight games. Doron Lamb scored 16 points and Marquis Teague added 15, with each hitting a pair of key free...

South Bracket Breakdown : 2012 NCAA Tournament

Kentucky is the number one overall seed but somehow the Wildcats got in my mind the toughest bracket. Check out my South Region Breakdown. Top 10 Players: 1.Anthony Davis (Kentucky) – Davis will like be the Player, Freshman, and Defensive Player of the Year. 2. Jeremy Lamb (UConn)- Lamb knows how to raise up his game in March he did last season in UConn title run...

The Wildcat Train

The Wildcat TrainAnthony Davis is by far the best player in the college basketball today.  He is an unbelievable freshman who single handedly can take over a game himself.  He offers so many skills and talents that many others around the country do not have.  He makes the Wildcats who they are, along with other great players, he is one of the main reasons that the Wildcats are...

SEC Championship Game: Kentucky-Vanderbilt Time, TV, Point Spread, and Prediction

The Kentucky Wildcats went undefeated in the SEC during the regular season and are one magical moment away from being undefeated overall. Today, in the SEC Championship Game, Kentucky faces the final hurdle in its path towards ultimate single-season SEC supremacy: Kevin Stallings’ Vanderbilt Commodores. SEC Championship Game Info Matchup: #1 Kentucky v #3 Vanderbilt Time: 1:00...

Gators Fall to No. 1 Kentucky

NEW ORLEANS -- If John Calipari's top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats encounter late-game adversity in the NCAA tournament, they'll know how to handle it. Anthony Davis had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Kentucky held off Florida 74-71 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

No. 1 Kentucky is top seed despite SEC title loss

Top-ranked Kentucky drew the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament on Sunday despite a surprising loss in the SEC tournament championship. The Wildcats (32-2) don't know who they'll face next. That will be decided when a pair of 16 seeds - Mississippi Valley State and Western Kentucky - duke it out in Dayton, Ohio as part of the four first-round games. For now, Kentucky...
College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.