LEXINGTON, Ky. — The 2023 NCAA Tournament bracket features a lot of traditional blue blood teams in seeding situations they are not familiar with.
North Carolina not even making the tournament is the biggest story, but it's also jarring to see Duke as a five seed, Kentucky as a six seed, and Michigan State as a seven seed - teams that traditionally find themselves much higher come Selection Sunday.
However, at least in the case of the Wildcats, a six seed might not be such a bad thing for John Calipari's team.
Locked on Kentucky host Lance Dawe sees a clear path for the Wildcats - led by two-time National Player of the Year winner Oscar Tshiebwe - to make it to the Final 4 despite the low seed and significant struggles earlier in the season.
"I think Kentucky has a better opportunity to make a run because they are more complete," Dawe said. "The fact that Kentucky is getting healthy right now is very important for the Wildcats."
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Kentucky is expected to have their trio of injured guards - Cason Wallace, CJ Fredrick, and Sahvir Wheeler - all healthy and available for their first NCAA Tournament game against Providence on Friday.
A healthy Kentucky team is certainly capable of making a deep run, despite struggles with a stagnant offense and inconsistent effort on the defensive end of the floor earlier this season.
After Providence, the Wildcats could face a three-seeded Kansas State team that also has their share of offensive issues, followed by a two-seeded Marquette team that is elite offensively but doesn't scare anyone on defense.
Is that a recipe for a potential deep run by Coach Cal and the Wildcats? It's not hard to see the path open up for Kentucky, although their inconsistent play throughout the year makes it far from a guarantee they'll string together enough quality consecutive appearances to make a run.