Kentucky coach John Calipari assembled a can't-miss roster with enough can't-miss talent to hold his own practice for NBA scouts on campus. Some early mock drafts have as many as seven Wildcats being taken in the 2015 NBA draft, including at least three potential first-rounders.
With that roster, surely Kentucky can't miss raising its ninth national title banner come April, right?
Stacking talent doesn't guarantee stacking titles. Over the past 20 seasons, only 12 teams have had rosters that included at least three first-round picks in the same draft class. Only five (Kentucky 1996 and 2012; North Carolina 2005 and 2009; Florida 2007) got a title to match their considerable talent.
If Kentucky is to become the sixth, it has to navigate potential pitfalls that doomed these can't-miss teams:
The first-rounders: Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon, Corey Maggette, William Avery
The downfall: The Blue Devils were the epitome of a can't-miss team. They lost only once in the regular season and were a 9.5-point favorite in the title game against Connecticut. If Duke went into the game a bit overconfident, it had good reason to be based on the regular season. The Huskies were quite confident, too, riding Richard Hamilton's 27 points to the upset in the championship game.
The first-rounders: Rudy Gay, Hilton Armstrong, Marcus Williams, Josh Boone
The downfall: The Huskies were ranked in the top four all season, but fell apart in the postseason. UConn's loss to No. 9 seed Syracuse in the Big East tournament should have been a premonition. The Orange, at the time, became the lowest seed to win the league tournament. The Huskies were on the wrong side of Cinderella again, falling to No. 11 seed George Mason in the Elite Eight.
2006-07 Ohio State
The first-rounders: Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Daequan Cook
The downfall: Before all the injuries, Greg Oden was being billed as a once-in-a-generation-type center. He lifted the Buckeyes to the Final Four, but they had the misfortune of running up against another can't-miss team in the Final Four. Florida beat the Buckeyes en route to capturing its second of back-to-back titles.
The first-rounders: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Daniel Orton
The downfall: John Calipari's first year ushered in the class that re-established Kentucky on the national scene. The Wildcats got hit with a perfect storm of surprises against West Virginia, starting with backup point guard Joe Mazzulla, he of a 2.2 point average, scoring a career-high 17 points. The Wildcats also didn't expect to be stumped by the Mountaineers' 1-3-1 zone and they were eliminated in the Elite Eight.
The first-rounders: Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Kendall Marshall
The downfall: The Tar Heels, the preseason No. 1 ranked team, seemed destined for a showdown with Kentucky -- the other can't-miss team of 2012 -- who edged the Heels in a 73-72 classic in Rupp Arena. The rematch never materialized. Point guard was the one position that Carolina couldn't afford an injury and Marshall suffered a wrist injury the second game of the tournament.