Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kentucky is Too Young To Win the Whole Thing...but...

I keep hearing the argument (muted somewhat, with Kansas and now Syracuse gone) that Kentucky with their at least five future NBA'ers, and 3 or 4 lottery picks in next year's draft, that they are maybe too young and immature to win the whole thing.

I'm not saying Kentucky is a lock to win the whole thing because of their superior talent--far from it.  I'd wager Cornell helped scout the Wildcats for West Virginia in a pretty major way, and WVA's size is going to give the Wildcats fits.  But here's the thing that bothers me about that argument.  It's a small thing, but worth mentioning.

And it is the 1997 Arizona Wildcats.  Went into the tournament as a #4 seed.  Considered too young to do much but get seasoning for the next year (this, kids, was before the whole one-and-done thing was a thing), they won the championship, beating three #1 seeds along the way (including a Minnesota team that later had to vacate their wins, due to some minor incident in which the entire school was helping the players cheat).

That team had one real career NBA'er on it--Mike Bibby, whose daddy gave him nothing but a name.  Other players were drafted, of course--Miles Simon, Michael Dickerson, and A.J. Bramlett were all on that Championship team and all were drafted in the first two rounds.  But they all came back in 1998, and they lost in the Elite Eight.  

My main point is this--we went through the whole "too young to win" thing in 1997, and it got blown up real good, and that was before this era of ridiculous athletes.  Kentucky is more talented than that Arizona team.  They can still lose, of course.  But it won't be because of youth.  Why does that even merit a mention in this day and age?  Because it is something to talk about, that's why.

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