If Kentucky hopes to win six pressure-packed NCAA Tournament games across three weekends and raise its ninth national championship trophy in Phoenix, Ariz., on April 3, all hands on deck will be required.
Some games might demand a scoring outburst by a star. Others might call on the bench to provide valuable minutes. And in another moment, perhaps a key three-pointer or a massive put-back from a player no one expected might make all the difference.
In short, every Wildcat has a role to play. Here is how UK will line up when the tournament tips off this week (statistics are for the regular season):
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Height, weight: 6-10, 260
Key stats: 13.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, .617 FG pct., 50 blocks
About Adebayo: A superb athlete who had 85 dunks and 25 games scoring in double figures during the regular season. He might be Kentucky’s most important defensive player and guards multiple positions. He is the team’s top rebounder and only inside threat. He is a key to how deep this team goes in the tournament.
Tourney role: He needs to be a consistent 15-point, 10-rebound a game producer. Stay out of foul trouble. Make his free throws.
Height, weight: 6-3, 210
Key stats: 12.9 ppg, .473 FG pct., 4.4 apg, 5.6 rpg.
About Briscoe: He was the designated team leader from the outset. He gets inside defenses and is a strong finisher. He can be the team’s best perimeter defender. He had five games with 20 or more points. His outside shooting improved but is still a work in progress.
Tourney role: He plays tough and fearless but should not try to do too much. Step up his defense and make foul shots.
Height, weight: 6-3,187
Key stats: 15.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 5 apg
About Fox: He led the SEC in assists and had 17 games with five or more. A one-man fast break, he is the jet that makes this team go. He can penetrate defenses and has a nice mid-range floater. A midseason illness and an ankle injury slowed him down.
Tourney role: He is the one driving the offense, so his decision-making is vital. Run the offense, set the pace and play fundamental defense.
Height, weight: 6-9, 213
Key stats: 23 starts, 5.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg
About Gabriel: He is athletic and can make the three-point shot. He scored 23 points against LSU and had 16 rebounds against Auburn. He also blocked 32 shots but struggled at times on defense.
Tourney role: He can add length and three-point shooting but needs to be more consistent and reliable on both ends.
Height, weight: 6-0, 191
Key stats: 18.4 mpg, 60 assists, 15 turnovers, .816 FT pct.
About Hawkins: The senior developed into Mr. Reliable. He has defensive intensity and plays within himself. He has made progress each year and played with more confidence as a senior. In 1,265 career minutes he has committed 32 turnovers. He has a nice floater in the middle.
Tourney role: He has become a steady hand while supplying energy. Do the same and add a little offense.
Height, weight: 7-0, 255
Key stats: 8.5 mpg, 3 rpg, .506 FG pct.
About Humphries: He played in every game and gives Bam Adebayo a rest. He scored eight or more points three times and grabbed five or more rebounds six times. He has displayed a decent shooting touch and can provide some board strength. Needs to play sound defense.
Tourney role: Give Adebayo a break without it hurting the team. Rebound and convert easy shots.
Height, weight: 6-10, 230
Key stats: 2.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg
About Killeya-Jones: He did not play after the Jan. 21 South Carolina game. He also suffered a midseason illness. He had a game high of 12 points and six rebounds.
Tourney role: He may be called on if serious foul trouble hits the regular rotation. If so, he needs to defend and rebound.
Height, weight: 6-3, 200
Key stats: 21.2 ppg, .841 FT pct., .409 3FG pct.
About Monk: He might be the most explosive offensive player in the country, evidenced by 47 points against North Carolina and 30 in the second half against Florida. He scored in double figures in his first 30 games. He can swish contested three-pointers in a flurry but also can score on drives. He had four 30-point games.
Tourney role: He’s capable of carrying this team offensively but needs to be consistent. Must contribute with defense and rebounding.
Height, weight: 6-4,185
Key stats: 5.6 ppg, .1000 FT pct., .381 3FG pct.
About Mulder: He had a solid senior season, playing several positions off the bench. In one early stretch, he made 12 three-pointers in four games. He was slowed by a midseason illness. He played himself into a solid rotation role.
Tourney role: His three-point shooting ability can provide another weapon. He needs to hit shots and play solid defense.
Height, weight: 6-9, 228
Key stats: 7 ppg, 5 rpp, .500 FG pct.
About Willis: He played some of his best basketball late. His outside shot (97 career three-pointers) can open the middle for his teammates. He had six or more rebounds in four of the last five games. This team is better when he plays well.
Tourney role: Make his open three-pointers to stretch the floor, get some rebounds and hold his own on defense.
Height, weight: 6-10, 254
Key stats: 54 minutes, 13 rebs., 11 pts.
About Wynyard: After playing in the first seven games, he played in only eight more. He took six shots, making five.
Tourney role: If needed, use his strength inside to rebound and defend.
Rounding out the roster:
Brad Calipari: 6-0 freshman guard
Jonny David: 6-2 sophomore guard
Hamidou Diallo: 6-5 freshman guard
Dillon Pulliam: 6-3 sophomore guard