By LARRY VAUGHT
Can Kentucky make a Final Four run?
Kentucky coach John Calipari said he thought so after UK lost at Auburn, its fourth straight loss. Since then UK has ripped off three straight wins and is playing better overall than it has in months.
ESPN analyst Dick Vitale said it would be a mistake to “underestimate John Calipari’s motivational ability” about anything.
“He has athletes. On a given night they can beat anybody,” Vitale said. “They proved that when they crushed Louisville and beat West Virginia. They are playing so much better now.
“Can they go to the Final Four? Yeah. Will they? That’s a different story.”
But if Kentucky can hit 10 3-point shots like it did against Missouri Saturday, a Final Four run becomes a much more possible scenario.
“Teams that succeed in March can make the 3. That has been a nightmare most of the year for Kentucky,” Vitale said. “They tease you at times but the stat sheet doesn’t lie. That’s the big worry with them.”
Vitale says this is not a “vintage Calipari team” but not to doubt UK’s overall talent and ability.
“They are so dominant athletically that they can score at will in high school. Now you have got to make shots,” Vitale said. “It gets to be a psychological thing. They have found out that dominant ability in high school and great ratings can be deceiving at this level.
“John had always spoiled everyone with great teams and great players like Anthony Davis, John Wall, Karl Anthony Towns, Brandon Knight, DeMarcus Cousins and more. Those teams were filled with greatness.
“With this group, they all better come back to school. The only one who maybe shouldn’t is Kevin Knox. I think he is a goner (to the NBA) even though another year in college would help him. But it’s tough to tell a kid with the dollars out there to stay and think about that second contract, not the first one.”