6. Will this Kentucky team win John Calipari his second NCAA championship? Since arriving at Kentucky in 2009, John Calipari has redefined the one-and-done approach to college basketball while producing 28 NBA Draft picks. He’s led the Wildcats to four Final Fours and one NCAA championship. Yet critics say he should have won more titles with all the talent he’s recruited and coached. This current team doesn’t look like it has a future No. 1 draft pick like Anthony Davis or Karl-Anthony Towns but led by freshmen guards De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, and sophomore Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky is a nightmare to defend and ranks No. 3 nationally in scoring offense at 93.5 points per game. Another deep run in the NCAA Tournament seems highly possible, and a second championship for Calipari would only add to his Hall of Fame legacy.
Here’s the Grayson Allen trip. pic.twitter.com/FCF2r5sbKP— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) December 22, 2016
7. Will Lonzo Ball lead UCLA to its first Final Four since 2008? Before the season began, Bovada installed UCLA at 50-1 odds to win the NCAA championship. Syracuse (20-1) and UConn (40-1) both faced better odds. But here we are in early January and No. 2 UCLA looks as dangerous as any team in the nation. Yes, they are coming off their first loss of the season to a very potent Oregon team, but UCLA also went into Rupp Arena and ran a high-octane Kentucky team off the court. Led by projected top-5 pick Lonzo Ball and fellow freshman T.J. Leaf, alongside a strong supporting cast including Aaron Holiday, Bryce Alford, Thomas Welsh and Isaac Hamilton, the Bruins rank No. 2 in Division 1 basketball in offense at 93.9 points per game. They are one of many bluebloods with a chance to make the Final Four, and the college version of “Showtime” sure could make the Big Dance fun to watch. told Sports Illustrated’s Brian Hamilton. “In years past, Northwestern was always, ‘Let’s compete tonight,’ or ‘Let’s hope to have a good game.’ Now we’re going into games like, we’re better than these teams. We’re coming in confident, we’re hungry to play.” 9. Will Sean Miller or Tony Bennett make the Final Four? Sean Miller has a career record of 320-110 (.744) with four Elite Eight appearances, including three at Arizona. Tony Bennett’s career mark is 245-107 (.696) and he led Virginia to the Elite Eight last year for the first time in his career. Both Miller and Bennett are considered among the best coaches in the college game — yet neither has ever coached in a Final Four. Will this be the year that changes? 10. What the heck is going on at Syracuse? One year after making a storybook run to the Final Four behind freshman sharpshooter Malachi Richardson, Syracuse is a hot mess. The Orange have lost six of their last 10 games, including an embarrassing 33-point beatdown by St. John’s at the Carrier Dome and a 15-point loss on Sunday to a Boston College team that went 0-18 in ACC play last season. Jim Boeheim used his fourth different starting lineup this season and has consistently lamented his team’s point guard play. As many have pointed out, had Tyler Ennis remained at Syracuse he would’ve been a senior now and the Orange’s situation might be different. 11. Will the ACC put 10 teams into the NCAA Tournament? ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently has 10 ACC teams in the NCAAs, but they aren’t the same 10 many had picked before the season began. Syracuse sure doesn’t look it will go dancing at this point (barring a March miracle), but Lunardi has Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Virginia, Miami, Florida State, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Clemson going dancing right now. That would mean that 80 percent of the league would make the Big Dance, with 10 of the field’s 68 teams from one conference. 12. Who will be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft? This NBA Draft figures to be as loaded as any in recent memory, but who will be the No. 1 overall pick? For the second straight season it could turn out to be a freshman whose team doesn’t go dancing. One year after LSU and Ben Simmons missed the NCAAs, Markelle Fultz and Washington could follow suit. The 6-4 freshman guard from Upper Marlboro, Md. — who is averaging 22.0 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds for a 7-5 Washington team — is the projected No. 1 pick by DraftExpress.com. There’s still a lot of time and there are plenty of challengers, with nine of the projected top 10 picks on the site all freshmen, including N.C. State’s Dennis Smith, Kansas’ Josh Jackson, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, Kentucky’s Malik Monk and Duke’s Jayson Tatum, among others.
Stop what you’re doing and watch Malik Monk destroy the universe with this dunk till the end of time. pic.twitter.com/MWfJAjbimZ— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) October 22, 2016
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Markelle Fultz Lit Up The NCAA In Non-Conference Play. @MarkelleF Is Ready For The Pac-12! 🔥🎶 Blessing – @BallerVisions pic.twitter.com/xVJymnhJHw — ReBORN HD Highlights (@ReBornHDTV) December 28, 2016