Kentucky has no reason to be scared of anybody heading into the 2012-13 season. The Cats are currently sitting on top of the college basketball world. Coming off an undefeated SEC run, an extended home winning streak of 52-straight games, a 38-2 overall record, and most importantly a national championship, the Wildcats are poised to strike fear in all of their opponents — even more than usual.
Losing your top six players raises some questions, at least. Calipari turns over his roster every year, but he has never lost as much talent as he did following his first title. However, you know as well as I do, Big Blue Nation fears no one. The 2012 class, headlined by Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin aim to replace the national championship roster
. Even in their youth, they expect great things.
But UK isn't the only squad shooting for a crown. There are seven teams that have a chance to knock off Kentucky during the season or upset their goal of defending a title,
says Matt Overing from the Bleacher Report, whether it is because of recruits, experience or both. A few conference foes, a few out of conference opponents, and one possible NCAA tournament showdown…
December 29. Kentucky at Louisville. Battle of two Final Four teams from the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Battle of two undefeated teams in the top three?
It's certainly possible.
Louisville brings back three starters from their Final Four squad. They're experienced, they'll be playing at home and they're expecting a win.
John Calipari hasn't lost to Louisville in his time as head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats. This is arguably the best Louisville team he's faced, and it will be interesting to see just how far this Kentucky team has come in their 14th game of the year.
Two teams beat the 2011-12 Kentucky Wildcats. One figures to be rebuilding. The other has already been rebuilt.
Indiana is the only team on this list that Kentucky is not “guaranteed” to play. But both teams have a history of finding each other in the NCAA tournament, and if they were to meet again in 2012-13, that's where it will be.
The Hoosiers are clearly one of the best teams in the nation. Christian Watford and Cody Zeller both opted to stay in school. Tom Crean has a great incoming recruiting class.
And there's that whole scheduling thing that Indiana fans are still mad about. If these two teams met in the NCAA tournament, the atmosphere would be electric.
Indiana has the best chance at taking the crown from the Kentucky Wildcats next season.
They are fairly easy choices, basically picking some of the best teams Kentucky will face in the season. But it's true. The game in Louisville is shaping up to be a battle, and Duke is going to be a tough opponent, just the second game of the young Wildcats' season. Kentucky may — and in all honesty, most likely will — lose some games next season. But one thing John Calipari has a habit of doing throughout the season is making his teams tournament-ready.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Isn't that what happened in Bloomington last season?