Welcome to BDB’s very own Be On the Look Out (#BOLO) edition of LAWS ON THE COURT, NCAA basketball style. We’ll go over five teams that have that familiar recipe of great recruiting, excellent coaching and talented returners to make that magical run in March. But we all know that to be around at the end of March, a team is going to need just a little bit of luck too.
If you can hop in your Way Back Machines and go back to the beginning of March Madness with the John Calipari-led Kentucky Wildcats going out in the first round of the NIT (National Invitation Tournament … as in, where you go when you don’t make the big dance). Calipari, a polarizing fella, along with the usually-on-top Wildcats elicited a lot of social media backlash for their abysmal (by Kentucky’s standards) year. But everyone kinda knew that no matter who went to the NBA following last year, the Wildcats were going to be ready to play this year. And with a recruiting class that can only be described as “sick” – the Wildcats will be ready to play. Ridiculous talent, returning veterans to provide leadership, Calipari … that’s a recipe for domination by NCAA basketball standards.
Michigan State Spartans
Yup, another familiar team that always seems to be around when the NCAA basketball field is thinned to 16 teams … the Michigan State Spartans led by none other than Tom Izzo. Izzo is one of those coaches who even when the Spartans are not supposed to be doing as well as they are, he acts like they belong there and thus, his teams have that same level of expectations. Well, this year, everyone should have high expectations. No doubt Izzo had his team figuring out where the missteps were last March and has fixed those for the upcoming season. By the middle of conference play, the Spartans will be running on all cylinders.
Okay, this isn’t a wild card because this roster has Andrew Wiggins, one of the most highly-touted players to come out of high school since … well, let’s just say this kid is supposed to be legit. Possibly legit enough to carry his team through most of March. Let’s be honest, it’s Kansas, his team surely isn’t lame by any means and he has a legendary coach in Bill Self to help guide him. But without a doubt, Wiggins will be the difference maker on this team. Only time will tell but I’m going out on the limb and say a kid with this much talent can typically at least get a team to the second weekend in March.
Duke Blue Devils
I know. You’re over it. We’ve gone over three teams with classic coaches and here’s yet another one. But it’s Coach K. I think we all know that no matter what a roster looks like, Coach K typically finds a way to make those guys meld together into a team. Only this year, the roster doesn’t look that questionable. It’s a classically talented Duke team where you have strong shooters all over the court and you’re really choosing the lesser of many evils. I’m guessing that Duke, if healthy, can stay in the top 10 all season.
I had to do it. They’re the defending national champions. Kevin Ware is OFFICIALLY the Comeback Kid. They kept key components to the team and they have Hall of Fame Head Coach Rick Pitino to lead the way. But, the biggest thing they have going for them? This team knows how to win. They just did it. And the one thing about winning is that once you figure out how to do it, you never want to stop doing it. I don’t know if these guys have what it takes to pull a Florida Gators 2005-06 / 2006-07 back-to-back champs … but, I’ll put it to you this way: after last season, I would never count Louisville out.