Kentucky Men's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Kentucky Wildcats
SEC (24-10, 12-6)


It is not unusual for Kentucky to have a young team. Starting five freshmen and bringing two sophomores off of the bench really does not mean all that much for a team with so much talent. However, it has been hit-or-miss for Coach John Calipari. Two years ago, of course, the Wildcats won the national championship. Last year, they lost in the first round of the NIT. Thankfully for UK, this time around seems to have more in common with the former instead of the latter.

Big Wins: 12/28 Louisville (73-66), 1/18 Tennessee (74-66), 2/1 at Missouri (84-79)
Bad Losses: 1/28 at LSU (82-87), 2/27 Arkansas (67-71), 3/1 at South Carolina (67-72)
Coach: John Calipari (5 seasons at Kentucky)

Why They Can Surprise:
Every freshman comes to Kentucky with hype, but none in this class were more heralded than 6-9 forward Julius Randle. After a strong start, Randle’s numbers came back down to Earth eventually, but he is playing great basketball right now and averaging a double-double is never bad. Randle highlights the superb talent in the frontcourt, but Dakari Johnson, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein have helped make Kentucky one of the best rebounding and shot blocking teams in the nation. Cauley-Stein, a veteran sophomore, averages 3.0 blocks and 6.3 rebounds.    

Why They Can Disappoint:
Outside of Randle, the top scorers on the team come from the backcourt. Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison and James Young are all freshmen and that is where their inexperience could hurt Kentucky eventually. Andrew is an amazing point guard who can make some magnificent plays. He is also the most consistent outside shooter on the team. Aaron is a better all-around scorer and is impossible to defend when his outside shot is falling. Young is the most prolific three-point shooter on the team and, like the Harrison twins, stands at 6-6 and will help out on the glass when needed. Despite the explosiveness of the entire team, Kentucky rarely gets easy points off of turnovers. That usually does not matter since the Wildcats are perfectly happy feeding the ball into Randle, but when the Wildcats run into a tough defensive opponent who can contain Randle, it would be nice to spark the offense with a few more easy buckets since the outside shot is not something this team can rely upon.

Probable Starters:
Andrew Harrison, Freshman, Guard, 10.8 ppg, 3.8 apg
Aaron Harrison, Freshman, Guard, 13.8 ppg, 2.1 apg
James Young, Freshman, Guard, 14.5 ppg, 1.8 apg
Julius Randle, Freshman, Forward, 15.0 ppg, 10.5 rpg
Dakari Johnson, Freshman, Center, 4.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Willie Cauley-Stein, Sophomore, Forward, 7.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.0 bpg
Alex Poythress, Sophomore, Forward, 5.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.3 (51st in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.1 (92, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.2 (128, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.1 (35, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.0 (295, 13)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: n/a
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.4 (219, 8)
Rebound Margin: 9.8 (2, 1)
Assists Per Game: 11.5 (263, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (183, 8)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2013    NIT        First Round loss to Robert Morris
2012    NCAA    Second Round win over Western Kentucky
2012    NCAA    Third Round win over Iowa State
2012    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Indiana
2012    NCAA    Regional Final win over Baylor
2012    NCAA    National Semifinal win over Louisville
2012    NCAA    National Final win over Kansas
2011    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Princeton
2011    NCAA    Round of 32 win over West Virginia
2011    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Ohio State
2011    NCAA    Regional Final win over North Carolina
2011    NCAA    National Semifinal loss to Connecticut
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 win over East Tennessee State
2010    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Wake Forest
2010    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Cornell
2010    NCAA    Regional Final loss to West Virginia
2009    NIT        First Round win over UNLV
2009    NIT        Second Round win over Creighton
2009    NIT         Quarterfinal loss to Notre Dame
2008    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Marquette
2007    NCAA     Round of 64 win over Villanova
2007    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Kansas

*all team stats through 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules