You know that whole "being impressed with Kentucky" thing we talked about in the post-Marathon hangover phase Wednesday? And how it was pretty hard not to be impressed with Kentucky -- unless, of course, you had a vested interest in that worldview, in which case your name is probably John Calipari?
Right. Well, Kansas coach Bill Self had a chance to review the game tape from Kentucky's Tuesday night win over Kansas, and what he saw did more than impress him. From the Lawrence Journal-World:
“We’ve played two teams that would rival them from a talent standpoint -- one would be Memphis, and one would be Florida,” Self said Wednesday on his Hawk Talk radio show. “You are looking at maybe four lottery picks,” Self added of UK’s Terrence Jones, Anthony Davis, Marquis Teague and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and/or Doron Lamb.
“If they keep getting better, they have a chance to be the best team in the country,” Self added. “From a raw-talent standpoint, even the Carolina team we faced in the Final Four with (Ty) Lawson, (Wayne) Ellington, (Tyler) Hansbrough and Danny Green ... this Kentucky team may even be superior to that. That’s some hard-rocking dudes. They have a real shot (at 2012 national title).”
First of all, "that's some hard-rocking dudes" is a fabulous phrase. It could be used to describe a mid-80's hair metal band or a WWE tag-team combo. Pretty versatile stuff.
Second of all, you know, Self may be right. From a pure talent standpoint, few teams, if any, have been able to put this kind of group together in the one-and-done era. It's supposed to be too hard to retain players like Terrence Jones (who probably would have gone pro if not for the lockout). It's supposed to be too hard to get three of the best five recruits in the country to want to share collegiate minutes, points and accolades together. It's supposed to be too hard to take a batch of hypertalented freshmen and get them to play championship level defense so early in their careers.
There are plenty of things Kentucky will have to get better at in the coming months. Things may not always sail as smoothly as they did for the 2009 Tar Heels. But Self thinks this team could very well be in that category, and far be it from me to disagree.