Four out of five basketball writers from CBS Sports College agree: Kentucky will make the Final Four next spring.
Earlier today, the outlet released its predictions for the upcoming season, and Gary Parrish, Matt Norlander, Kyle Boone and Jerry Palm have the Cats play in Houston the first weekend in April. Palm predicts that Kentucky will lose to Gonzaga in the title game Norlander and Boone picked the Cats to win their ninth national championship. Norlander lets Kentucky beat Gonzaga and Boone lets the Cats beat Houston. David Cobb was the only pundit not to include Kentucky in his Final Four. Boo, David Cobb!
Here’s why Norlander wants to win it all with Kentucky.
“Oscar Tshiebwe’s return will be of paramount importance to achieve this. I trust that his new knee area was easy and will not affect his NPOY candidacy. With Tshiebwe in the middle, Jacob Toppin preparing for a successful senior season, and Sahvir Wheeler probably becoming one of the most stable point guards in the country, it’s a strong 1-2-3. Add CJ Frederick’s 3-point shooting, Daimion Collins’ athleticism, Antonio Reeves’ scoring. We now cook with gas. And that’s before we get to future NBA picks in freshmen gear: Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston.
This squad doesn’t seem to be in the top five in the UK in terms of overall talent since John Calipari got there but I like the plays and their potential to fit. Elite defensive outfit that has enough shooting and scoring opportunities to play with and defeat any team. And after the defeat against St. Peter, the motivation quotient is overwhelming.”
It’s hard to think of a more poetic result than Kentucky winning it all after losing to a No. 15 in the first round. I’m glad to see that I’m not alone in thinking it’s possible.
Watch the latest John Calipari press conference on the KSR YouTube channel.
Kentucky is also ESPN’s title favorite
In its SEC Basketball Preview last week, ESPN’s panel of college basketball writers agreed that Kentucky is the favorite to win the 2023 title. Joe Lunardi even went so far as to say he would bet money on the Cats cutting down the nets.
“If I had to make a mortgage payment today without watching a minute of a game, Kentucky would be my pick for the national championship.” Lunardi wrote. “The Wildcats, along with other proven veterans, have the player of the year pick. You also have the usual immediate contributors rolling in (but not too many to take a long time to get used to). And of course they have the ‘chip on their shoulder’ factor due to their ignominious elimination from last season’s NCAA tournament.”
From your lips to the ears of the basketball gods, Joe.