Kentucky Basketball: Wildcats Finally Hitting Their Stride

Kentucky Wildcats Finally Hitting Their Stride

3/29/14 in NCAABB   |   BlakeLovell   |   86 respect

Mar 28, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Julius Randle (30) gestures to the crowd with 2.3 seconds left in the second half in the semifinals of the midwest regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament against the Louisville Cardinals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY SportsBefore the start of the regular season, the word 'perfection' was being thrown around a lot in discussions about the 2013-2014 Kentucky Wildcats.

After losing the third game of the season to the Michigan State Spartans, those talks were put to rest. But then the losses kept coming.

The Wildcats hit a stretch in SEC play where they found themselves losing to non-NCAA tournament teams like LSU, Arkansas, and South Carolina, leaving many to wonder if John Calipari's team would even make it past the first weekend.

But all of a sudden, something clicked. The flashes of brilliance that we were all expecting to see this season were finally on full display.

And that's why the Wildcats are now one win away from the Final Four in Arlington.

The SEC tournament was where we started to see Kentucky building some momentum. After impressive wins over LSU and Georgia, the Wildcats struggled early against Florida in the title game. However, a second half explosion allowed them to hold the Gators to just 21 points in the second half, and Kentucky had the ball with a chance to win before falling by a single point.

The signs were there -- this young team could hang with the best.

And the Wildcats have continued to prove that in the tournament. When Kentucky was announced as an eight seed in the same bracket as the undefeated Wichita State Shockers, everyone immediately jumped at the idea that the predicted team of perfection could square off with the actual team perfection.

They did, and despite an excellent showing from the Shockers, it was Kentucky that walked out victorious.

So, it really shouldn't surprise us that Julius Randle and company kept the train rolling by knocking off in-state rival and defending national champion Louisville in the Sweet 16. After falling behind early, the Wildcats once again showed the fight that has defined them for several weeks now. It simply all came together for this team.

Randle was his usual beast self. Aaron and Andrew Harrison made big shots. Dakari Johnson manned the paint. And Alex Poythress finally showed us the type of player that he's capable of being.

With that type of combination, this team may be unbeatable. 

Now, Kentucky is only three wins away from making history. Despite all the setback and disappointment that the regular season brought, this post-season has belonged to the Wildcats. 

That Kentucky team we thought we'd see when the season started back in November? Well, it has arrived.

And that's bad news for John Beilein and Michigan.

Will Kentucky beat Michigan and make it to the Final Four? Let us know by commenting below! For more college basketball talk, follow FanIQ or myself on Twitter!
 
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