Jay Bilas is one of the smartest men in basketball. He’s in the Bahamas providing color commentary for Kentucky’s televised scrimmages, and he’s done a fantastic job doing so.
Coach Cal brought Bilas in to speak with his team on Wednesday, their day off, and recorded what he had to say to them. The most interesting passage is as follows:
“You are going to be talked about as much, if not more than any team in the country,” Bilas said. “And arguably, any team over the last 20 years. As your season goes along, there are going to be people like me in my job, at the start of the year, we’re going to talk about how good you can be. Then, we’re going to talk about how good you are. Then, people are going to get bored with that. We’re going to start talking about what are their weaknesses. Instead of talking about what you’re really good at, they’re going to start hammering at little things, make you see a crack. It may exist, it may not. But they’ll talk about that.”
He’s exactly right. If all goes according to plan, this is how Kentucky’s season is going to play out:
- The young Wildcats will get challenged and tested during November and December, losing a game or two to someone like Louisville or Texas or Kansas.
- They’ll hit their stride during SEC play when, believe it or not, their schedule gets a bit easier and their play starts peaking as guys figure out their roles and Calipari figures out his rotation.
- Like in 2012, they will head into March as the best team in the country and the favorite to win the national title.
At that point, what will happen is that the talking point will shift. Instead of talking about how good this team can be, everyone will eventually begin to talk about whether or not Kentucky can be beaten and how it can be done.
So if, heading into the NCAA tournament, Kentucky is 32-2, don’t be surprised to se multiple columns here discussing how Kentucky’s weaknesses, whatever they are, can be exploited.
Because that’s the way it works when you’re the favorite to win.