Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Cowherd: ‘Kentucky will have to have 4 major injuries not to win NCAA title’
ESPN’s Colin Cowherd made quite the statement Thursday about the college basketball landscape this season.
“Kentucky’s going to have to have like four major injuries [not to win the NCAA title],” he said on his radio program. “They don’t even look like the other teams.”
That statement probably has Big Blue Nation worried about a massive jinx being sent their way.
But Kentucky is No. 1 in the land and just about everybody’s favorite to cut down the nets come April.
Still, several teams appear to have the size and talent to compete with them — namely Duke, Arizona, Gonzaga and possibly Texas, although it will be tough for the Longhorns on Friday without injured point guard Isaiah Taylor.
No. 4 Duke looked mighty impressive in shooting 65.2 percent in its 80-70 win over No. 2 Wisconsin Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
“They’re better than us right now,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said after a game in which freshman point guard Tyus Jones went for 22 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists and projected No. 1 pick Jahlil Okafor had 13 points and 6 rebounds in the win.
If somebody is going to beat Kentucky and their size, they’re going to have to have a shooting night like that.
“To beat them you’re going to have to make shots because you’re not getting to the rim against them,” ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg told SNY.tv. “To beat Kentucky, you gotta make 12 3’s, own the tempo of the game and change the defenses and try to find a way to get them out of them rhythm. [Providence’s] Ed Cooley did a good job of changing defenses so you’re not exposed. And the last thing is you gotta rebound. If you don’t rebound, you have no chance.”
In the end, the only thing that could take down Kentucky might be Kentucky itself. So far all the players are buying into John Calipari’s 10-man platoon system. Unless that somehow changes, it may be a tough ask to beat them.
“Kentucky, they can survive injury, they can survive foul trouble,” Greenberg said. “I think they have to survive their chemistry. Their chemistry is good right now, they’ve gotta maintain their chemistry.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.