Although March Madness never fails to live up to the hype of its name, this year’s season finale of college basketball has been especially… mad. And by mad, I mean it will forever be imprinted in my memory as the year of downright excessive insanity. So mad in fact, I am convinced there will be a documentary made somewhere down a road about one underdog contender that everybody, including myself, overlooked from the start. Now if you find yourself lunging from this tab to Google search “underdogs to make it the Final Four”, I’ll save you some time. Wichita State in 2013, VCU in 2011, and George Mason in 2006 (just to name a few). However, as you are about to find out, none of these teams have done it like this year’s eighth-seeded Kentucky Wildcats.
Jalen Rose. Chris Webber. Juwan Howard. Ray Jackson. Jimmy King. These five names compose the former greatest recruiting class in the history of college basketball – Michigan’s Fab Five.
Aaron Harrison. Andrew Harrison. James Young. Julius Randle. Dakari Johnson. Marcus Lee. These are the six names that compose the new greatest recruiting class in the history of college basketball – the 2013-14 Kentucky Wildcats.
As you may or may not know, the Fab Five’s claim to fame was reaching the Final Four with an all-freshmen starting lineup. Rightfully so, an ESPN 30 for 30 – one of the most respected series of sports documentaries around – was made years later to detail the Fab Five’s classic road to greatness. Having seen this documentary as well as Kentucky’s historical journey, I am now left wondering if this modern-day Kentucky “Fab Five” (which in my opinion should be dubbed something along the lines of the “Significant Six”) is worthy of better, worse, or the same treatment as the original Fab Five. While I was initially pro-Kentucky, I decided to do some digging. And I must say, the similarities are truly remarkable. Both Michigan, a six-seed, and Kentucky, an eight-seed, were considered underdogs due to their lack of experience and their difficult bracket drawings. In each of their respective paths to the Final Four, Michigan and Kentucky both defeated a no. 1 seed, as well each team’s rival opponent. Additionally, neither team blew out their opponents. All game were relatively close, making each victory just that much more triumphant.
So do the 2013-14 Kentucky Wildcats deserve an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary? My answer remains yes, but on one condition – that they do what Michigan didn’t by winning the national championship. If the Wildcats can accomplish that, there is not a doubt in my mind that this squad of teenage Wildcats will go down as the most successful recruiting class in the history of college basketball. But for the next 24 hours or so, that remains a mystery left unsolved.