TAYLOR: Taylor's Thoughts

Now that Kentucky has been eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, picking another team to follow can be a daunting task. It's almost like starting over.

Where do you begin? That's the hard part.

However, teams with ties to the Wildcats wouldn't be a bad place to start. The only coach remaining in the tournament with any connection to Lexington is Florida coach Billy Donovan.

Donovan, a former assistant coach at Kentucky under Rick Pitino, has his Gators peaking at the right time and advancing deep in the tournament. The team's recent trend is unlike the past when Florida would find its niche late in the season, only to falter when it counted the most.

Florida happens to be in the same conference and division as Kentucky, another good reason to follow the Gators in the tourney. That gives Florida the edge among the rest of the 15 teams left in the event.

Staying within the conference wouldn't be a bad idea either. Louisiana State University (LSU) has been playing well in the postseason and nothing would thrill some UK followers no better than to see the Tigers bounce Duke from the prestigious event.

Another possibility is West Virginia, located within the border of this state. The Mountaineers are playing well and could knock down the Final Four door this time around.

Of course there's Connecticut, the team that had the honors of ending Kentucky's season. Finding a spot for the Huskies is easier for some more than others.

If tradition has any say in finding a temporary replacement for the Cats, then Duke and UCLA fit the bill just fine. Both teams have the tools to make a serious run for the title.

With all four top seeds remaining, those four teams – Duke, Memphis, UConn and Villanova – are still alive up to this point. One of those four teams – Villanova – shares the same nickname as Kentucky, making them another possibility.

If you like underdogs, George Mason, Bradley and Wichita State are three teams no one expected to be in the Sweet 16.

Raise you hand if you had those three teams picked to win in the first two rounds. That's what we thought.

Other options include former Cinderella Gonzaga, not to mention Texas, Boston College and Georgetown.

No matter who you like, one thing is for sure: A new national champion will be crowned in a couple of weeks.


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