clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2011 Final Four: Kentucky Basketball Loaded With Talent, Ready For NCAA Championship Run

On one side of the Final Four bracket, we have Butler and VCU, the mid-majors crashing the party in Houston. On the other side is a more traditional pairing: Kentucky and UConn. In his short time with the Wildcats, head coach John Calipari has assembled an impressive collection of talent, with NBA caliber players littering the roster. Last year, his young but supremely talented roster fell short, but Calipari and the Wildcats are deep in the NCAA Tournament this year with a group that looks like a juggernaut.

Kentucky survived an early stumble in the first round to secure a two-point win over Princeton and narrowly escaped Ohio State in the Sweet Sixteen with another two-point win. The Wildcats are battle-tested as they head to Houston for the Final Four, but face another tough test in Kemba Walker and the UConn Huskies.

Like we did with VCU and Butler, let's preview Kentucky using Ken Pomeroy's stats. Check out the Kentucky team page at Pomeroy's site for more on the Wildcats. To find out what these numbers mean, check out Pomeroy's explanation.

KenPom rank: 4, the highest of the remaining teams

Offense: 119.0 offensive efficiency (ranked 7th), 52.7 eFG% (7th), 16.1 turnover percentage (10th) and 36.6 free throw rate (200th)

Defense: 91.0 defensive efficiency (19th), 44.2 eFG% (9th), 29.7 offensive rebounding percentage allowed (66th), 17.8 turnover percentage (297th)

What it means: We all know about Kentucky's offense by now. With talent inside and out, the Wildcats are a threat to score in bunches at any time from anywhere on the floor. Kentucky takes care of the ball and is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country, but its defense is underrated, as well. The Wildcats defensive efficiency is among the best in the nation, and they limit opponents to an effective field goal percentage of 44.2, ninth-best in the NCAA. Kentucky doesn't force turnovers, but the Wildcats block percentage -- 15.7, good for sixth-best -- is elite, and opponents shoot just 42 percent from two-point range, also one of the best numbers in the country.

Star watch: With a loaded roster, it's tough to pinpoint where to start. On the inside -- and sometimes out, as well -- it's all about Terrence Jones. The freshman from Portland uses the most possessions on the team, 28.2, takes the most shots, 27.7, and is a force on the glass with the team's second-best offensive rebounding percentage, 8.8, and a team-best defensive rebounding percentage, 22.1. Josh Harrellson is another force inside with a 131.8 ORtg, ninth-best in the country, a team-best 15.1 offensive rebounding percentage and an effective field goal percentage of 61.9.

Kentucky's roster boasts guards and swingmen in bunches, led by freshman Brandon Knight. The creator of the bunch, Knight has a team-high assist rate of 23.2, an effective field goal percentage of 51.6 and uses just over 26 percent of the possessions while on the floor. Doron Lamb is another efficient scorer on the outside with an ORtg of 121.7 and an effective field goal percentage of 60.0. Darius Miller is also an efficiency machine with an ORtg of 118.4 and an effective field goal percentage of 57.9.

In short, just watch each and every player that takes the court for Kentucky. When they're clicking, it's a sight to behold, and the level of talent is impressive for a collegiate roster.

Kentucky takes the floor in Houston for the Final Four against Connecticut on Saturday. For more previews, check back with our Final Four StoryStream throughout the day. Check out the printable bracket at SB Nation or visit the NCAA Tournament hub for more March Madness coverage