Assuming Kentucky can handle Arkansas this Saturday, they’ll be ranked #1 in the country come Monday morning. Texas lost to Kansas State this week, so the Cats–again, with the assumption of victory–will be college basketball’s lone undefeated remaining and obvious selection for number one. All this numero uno talk reminds me of the last time Kentucky sat atop the polls, during the 2002-03 season, when they blew out #1 Florida on their way to a 26-game winning streak before Dwayne Wade and Marquette brought the season to an abrupt and unceremonious end, humiliating the #1 Wildcats in the ’03 Elite Eight.
This article was written in the midst of that 26-game run, and even features a shout out by then Memphis and current Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari. An excerpt:
“So dominant is the Wildcats’ defense these days that it’s drawing comparisons to such throwbacks as Temple‘s 2-3 matchup zone, UNLV‘s amoeba and Arkansas‘s Forty Minutes of Hell. Rival coaches are even using videotapes of Kentucky games as teaching tools. “I told my players, ‘Does it look like they have six guys out there? It sure looks that way to me,’ ” says coach John Calipari of resurgent Memphis. “So we stopped and counted, and they only had five. Are they the most talented team in the country? It doesn’t matter. To win a national title, you have to play great defense and rebound the ball. That’s why they’re the best team in the country.”