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This class of freshmen was touted as possibly the greatest in history.
There was talk of immediate dominance, which seemed natural for a squad led by a point guard that was, height-wise, in the same mold as Penny Hardaway and Magic Johnson and a power forward that was a double-double machine and considered the gem of the class.
By the end of the regular season, though, struggles (that should have been expected from such a young squad but wasn’t) had set in; they had lost a bit of the luster from their early-season expectations, despite the coach switching to an all-freshman starting lineup in an attempt to create a spark.
They were given a relatively low seed in the NCAA tournament that seemed unfathomable at the beginning of the year, but it didn’t matter. They let their talent do the talking and parlayed an unbelievable amount of team unity into a trip to the Final Four, downing the top two seeds in their region along the way.
It certainly sounds like this year’s UK squad.
If this were the plot of a movie, it could most definitely be named “Cardiac ‘Cats.”
But this script is just a remake of the original, entitled “Fab Five” and starring the ’91-’92 Michigan Wolverines.
The parallels between the two stories are eerie to say the least.
Neither team made the NCAA tournament the year prior, and both teams did indeed lose in their first-round game of the NIT that season.
Andrew Harrison is playing the role of Jalen Rose, Julius Randle has Chris Webber’s part and John Calipari portrays Steve Fisher, both of whom captured their first national championship just a few years prior.
Willie Cauley-Stein can certainly relate to Eric Riley, a Michigan big man who lost his starting job to a freshman only to become a supersub. This was all before getting drafted into the NBA.
Both teams had to go through a bitter rival in the second weekend of the tournament (Kentucky>Louisville, Michigan>Ohio State).
The end result could even be the same.
Michigan fell in the championship game to a Grant Hill-led Duke squad that had beaten the Wolverines earlier in the season. UK could potentially face a Florida team that they have already fallen to three times.
Wildcat fans everywhere just hope this remake has an alternate ending.