The only really young team I could think of to compare UK to was the 2003 Syracuse title team. Here's their distribution of minutes:
Carmelo - Freshman - 1274
McNamara - Freshman - 1235
Warrick Sophomore - 1146
Duany - Senior - 944
McNeil - Junior - 657
Forth - Sophomore - 618
Edelin - Freshman - 533
Pace - Sophomore - 469
No one else had over 100 minutes on the year.
Minutes broken down by class.
Freshman - 3042 (44%)
Sophomore - 2233 (32%)
Senior - 944 (14%)
Junior - 657 (10%)
Total - 6876
Here's a similar comparison for UK this year:
Teague - Freshman - 1102
Davis - Freshman - 1073
Lamb - Sophomore - 1060
Gilchrist - Freshman - 1059
Jones - Sophomore - 922
Miller - Senior - 861
Wiltjer - Freshman - 427
Vargas - Senior - 191
Freshman - 3661 (55%)
Sophomore - 1982 (30%)
Senior - 1052 (15%)
Total - 6695
So UK gives 11% more minutes to freshmen, and about the same to everyone else. The difference comes from having no juniors on the roster. They all went pro after 2010 season.
That's younger than the 2003 Cuse roster, but not that much younger.
I'd also argue that UK's collection of talent is way better - Davis is pegged at #1 in the draft, Gilchrist #2, Jones #18, Teague #39, Lamb #51. Melo went #3 that year, Warrick went #19 in 2005 and McNamara went undrafted.
Also, Cuse went into the NCAAs with 5 losses on the year and UK only has 2.
If UK had a veteran leader like Josh Harrelson was last year, I'd feel better about it. Part of my thinking in picking UK is that all the other teams have flaws or have under-performed for stretches of this season.
Super "Maybe I'll go to the East Region discussion and start arguing for Ohio State now" Dave
Freshmen: 1071 minutes (14%)
Sophomores: 4380 minutes (57%)
Juniors: 1819 minutes (23.5%)
Seniors: 437 minutes (5.5%)
Upperclassmen provided 29% of the minutes, a bit more than 2003 Syracuse's 24% and almost twice as much as 2012 Kentucky's 15%.
I think the one gamechanger that they have in that respect is Anthony Davis, though. He's kind of a safety net for anything; even if they start playing their age during a certain game, that guy can clean up mistakes like no other. What he does is so easy for him physically that it's almost hard for him to have an "off night," especially on the defensive end. Plus, Terrance Jones is an aggressive, physical beast with more big-time NCAA performances under his belt than 99% of players in the country as a sophomore.
I'll be most interested to see how Teague holds up. I've always thought he was an unreliable wild card, who was capable of some explosive players but very overrated as an overall PG. He seems to be growing up as of late, but I'm not sure how well I trust him to stay on an even keel for a 6-game NCAA run.
UNC played them to within 1, louisville to within 7....if they had to play those caliber of teams all the time...in the Big 10/12/east....or even have to play a few times against UNC/Duke and FSU....they would have at least 3-4 losses.
I don't think the lack of experience is what will do Kentucky in. I think it's the fact that every one of their players expects to be in the NBA next year, and the tournament is their place to prove it. I'm sure Calipari tries to sell them all on the fact that winning is the most important thing, that it will help their draft status if they win as a team, but seriously, what are the chances they'll believe that?
Kentucky is the one team that I would not be surprised either way, meaning I could see them win it all or I could see them get beat this weekend. The team dynamics give you an argument either way. I do think too much youth can be a bit of a downfall in the tourney but sometimes the talent is so great it can cover the inexperience up.
In the end it is hard for me to fill out my bracket and not put them in the Final 4. But deep down I feel their lack of consistent perimeter shooting and turnover prone/overrated point guard will do them in before New Orleans
Pomeroy's giving Kentucky a 19% chance at winning the title. That's better than any other team, but it also means that in the thousands and thousands of simulations that were run, someone else won the title more than 80% of the time. But their odds are quite good to win it- they have roughly the same chance of going to the NC game as Duke does of making the Elite 8.
While Kentucky is a very good team and has been dominant this year (I find it funny when we talk about a team with 2 total losses as having meltdowns) I don't think there is anything regarding their youth or their makeup (re: pro auditions, etc.) that will cause them to "choke." If Kentucky loses, I could see it being for one of two reasons:
1) They have a bad night and/or they run into a team having an awesome night. People make a lot of noise about teams (including Duke) choking, but what makes March Madness so great is that legitimately anyone can win on any night. Sometimes the "best" teams don't win it all. Sometimes they do.
2) Lack of depth. What happens if Davis gets into foul trouble? Or Teague? For all the talent they have, they need their key players to stay out of foul trouble in order for them to truly click on all cylinders. Duh. Doesn't everyone. But who knows if that will happen 6 times in a row over the next 3 weeks?
The problem, in my opinion, is that calipari just isn't a great xs and os or in game coach....his offense is pretty much dribble it and drive....if you get stuck pass it...his defense is basic man to man....credit him for getting them to play ANY defense....so in that sense I guess he has some motivational skills....but you just look at the way his teams lose....the game against west virginia rings huge....they were something like 0-24 from 3pt in the first half? what kind of half decent coach doesn't make the necessary adjustments, or is UNABLE to make said adjustments when their team is so frequently doing something they are so horrendously bad at (and make no mistake, that UK team was not a great 3pt shooting team all season)...he had no idea what to do...duke takes a lot of threes, but 24 in a half is crazy....and when you're making 0 of them, you know that not all of them could have been good shots....(and we won't even get to the fact that he and his team were looking forward to duke in the final 4...)
furthermore...freethrows....cost him the (what would have been vacated) national title against kansas, cost him the game against uconn last year (4-12)...not to mention they shot 55% (16-29) in the second half....
part of it is that he has inexperienced guys every year who are going to be less coachable and who are going to make stupid mistakes.....part of it is that he gets top recruits and plays in a weak conference, gets a high seed, and then some good team comes along and puts him in his place (that was his mojo at memphis....and the SEC hasn't been much better since he's been there...)
When they lose to Wichita State, it'll be because they get baited into taking more threes than they should, while their opponent makes a great percentage of them.
The NCAAT creates the perfect mine field for Kty. All of their skel;etons in the closet come pouring out as soon as a team steps up and hits them in the mouth early and keeps the pressure on them after that. Kty is like a big ole balloon, all you have to do is put a little hole in it at will blow itself up after that.