Kentucky-Florida College Basketball Showdown: Final Four Preview?

Kentucky-Florida College Basketball Showdown: Final Four Preview?

The legendary Al McGuire always said a team needed 3 ½ stars to win a title, and if that is true then two of the five contenders face off at 9 p.m. Saturday when Florida visits Kentucky.

Louisville, Syracuse, and Wisconsin are the only other three teams with three players in the www.valueaddbasketball.com Top 100 one month from Selection Sunday. We will let others judge which teams have the extra 1/2 star–the unselfish role player.

Kentucky’s trio is younger and includes better NBA prospects than Florida, and the Wildcats have the home court advantage in the ESPN showdown. All three of Kentucky’s top 100 players are projected to play in the NBA, with freshman Aaron Harrison projected as a shooting guard, freshman Julius Randle as a dominant forward, and sophomore Willie Causey-Stein projected to play center at the next level. 

Freshmen’s ratings tend to rise throughout the season, so Kentucky’s trio, currently ranked 42nd, 67th, and 100th, could well rank better by the tournament. By contrast, Gator seniors Patric Young and Casey Prather do not look as sure to make the jump, nor does sophomore Michael Frazier, but the Gators play together very well. Still, getting their first road win at Kentucky since 2007 could be tough.

It is no surprise that Syracuse ranks as the team to beat. Two of their three Top 100 players are expected to go in the top of the first half of the NBA draft in point guard Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant, while Ennis joins Trevor Cooney to make them the only team with two top 15 players. 

Louisville is the only team besides Kentucky to have three Top 100 players who are all expected to make the NBA, and they possess great balance in lightning fast Russ Smith, powerful center/power forward Montrezl Harrell, and the versatile 6-foot-5 Wayne Blackshear. Despite a brief slip, Wisconsin appears back on top and has the only true dominant big man in this season of the guard. 

Frank Kaminsky is a 7-footer who gets fed by guard Ben Brust, while Sam Dekker rounds out their top 100 trio. 

The following is a table of the three Top 100 players on each of these five teams with their Value Add rank in the Top 100, their Offensive Value Add, and then their overall Value Add once adjusted for defense and position. The final two columns include their class and the position they are expected to play in the NBA.

Rnk Value Add Teams w/3 top 100 Offense Total Yr NBA?
39 Michael Frazier Florida 4.29 5.31 So  
93 Patric Young Florida 2.66 4.31 Sr C
99 Casey Prather Florida 3.99 4.24 Sr  
42 Willie Cauley-Stein Kentucky 2.34 5.26 So C
67 Julius Randle Kentucky 3.26 4.69 Fr SF/PF
100 Aaron Harrison Kentucky 3.49 4.24 Fr SG
33 Montrezl Harrell Louisville 3.27 5.40 So PF/C
37 Russ Smith Louisville 3.48 5.33 Sr PG
78 Wayne Blackshear Louisville 2.97 4.49 Jr SF
12 Tyler Ennis Syracuse 4.54 6.48 Fr PG
13 Trevor Cooney Syracuse 5.34 6.45 So  
89 Jerami Grant Syracuse 3.62 4.35 So SF
19 Frank Kaminsky Wisconsin 5.29 6.15 Jr  
57 Ben Brust Wisconsin 4.87 4.84 Sr  
86 Sam Dekker Wisconsin 3.88 4.38 So SF
Rnk Value Add Teams w/3 top 100 Offense Total Yr NBA?
39 Michael Frazier Florida 4.29 5.31 So  
93 Patric Young Florida 2.66 4.31 Sr C
99 Casey Prather Florida 3.99 4.24 Sr  
42 Willie Cauley-Stein Kentucky 2.34 5.26 So C
67 Julius Randle Kentucky 3.26 4.69 Fr SF/PF
100 Aaron Harrison Kentucky 3.49 4.24 Fr SG
33 Montrezl Harrell Louisville 3.27 5.40 So PF/C
37 Russ Smith Louisville 3.48 5.33 Sr PG
78 Wayne Blackshear Louisville 2.97 4.49 Jr SF
12 Tyler Ennis Syracuse 4.54 6.48 Fr PG
13 Trevor Cooney Syracuse 5.34 6.45 So  
89 Jerami Grant Syracuse 3.62 4.35 So SF
19 Frank Kaminsky Wisconsin 5.29 6.15 Jr  
57 Ben Brust Wisconsin 4.87 4.84 Sr  
86 Sam Dekker Wisconsin 3.88 4.38 So SF

Rnk Value Add Teams w/3 top 100 Offense Total Yr NBA?
39 Michael Frazier Florida 4.29 5.31 So  
93 Patric Young Florida 2.66 4.31 Sr C
99 Casey Prather Florida 3.99 4.24 Sr  
42 Willie Cauley-Stein Kentucky 2.34 5.26 So C
67 Julius Randle Kentucky 3.26 4.69 Fr SF/PF
100 Aaron Harrison Kentucky 3.49 4.24 Fr SG
33 Montrezl Harrell Louisville 3.27 5.40 So PF/C
37 Russ Smith Louisville 3.48 5.33 Sr PG
78 Wayne Blackshear Louisville 2.97 4.49 Jr SF
12 Tyler Ennis Syracuse 4.54 6.48 Fr PG
13 Trevor Cooney Syracuse 5.34 6.45 So  
89 Jerami Grant Syracuse 3.62 4.35 So SF
19 Frank Kaminsky Wisconsin 5.29 6.15 Jr  
57 Ben Brust Wisconsin 4.87 4.84 Sr  
86 Sam Dekker Wisconsin 3.88 4.38 So SF

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