2015 NCAA tournament preview: Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky Wildcats

Record: 34-0, 18-0 SEC

Head coach: John Calipari (6th season)

Season summary: Kentucky finished the regular season and SEC Tournament play undefeated, and only seven of its victories came by fewer than 10 points. The Wildcats crushed non-conference competition such as Kansas, Texas, North Carolina and Louisville and then ran the table through a relatively weak SEC, only facing a handful of real challenges along the way. A season-ending injury to forward Alex Poythress early in the year barely slowed down the Wildcats, who feature five likely first-round draft picks in this year's NBA Draft.

Kentucky's strong suits—defense and balanced scoring. Only guards Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker average more than 10 points per game, but eight players average at least five points per game. To go along with their balanced scoring, the Wildcats feature arguably the nation's best defensive frontcourt. Kentucky is third in the country in points allowed per game (54.0) and second in blocks per game (6.9). Junior WIllie Cauley-Stein and freshman Karl Anthony Towns—two of the Wildcats' four big men that are 6-foot-11 or taller—provide the bedrock for a defensive unit that has held its opponents to 50 points or fewer in almost half of the Wildcats' games.

How they make a run: Kentucky uses its nine-man rotation to wear down opponents and uses its imposing defense to win low-scoring games.

How they falter: Opposing teams are nearly perfect from beyond the arc and the Wildcats fail to make free-throws down the stretch.


Share and discuss “2015 NCAA tournament preview: Kentucky Wildcats” on social media.