Top players at the high school level will often link up at one university to attempt to win the March Madness tournament before declaring for the draft. Often times, however, multiple top players going to one school can be harmful. Repeatedly in college basketball, multiple teams have underperformed as a result of having too much talent.

Exceptions obviously exist. The 2011-12 University of Kentucky team had four of the best recruits in the country — Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer — and this team won the SEC and NCAA tournament. Besides teams like that legendary Kentucky squad, though, the landing of multiple five-star recruits can be disadvantageous. We saw a prime example of this occurrence during last season.

Duke University had one of the best college recruiting classes in history. They recruited the best three players in the country: Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish. Along with this big three, they also scooped up Tre Jones, the 17th best overall player coming out of high school. The incredible athleticism of Williamson and Barrett, coupled with the premier three-point shooting and defense from Reddish, had this team prepped to be legendary.

While the team produced epic highlights throughout the season and won the ACC tournament, they were barely scraping together wins in the NCAA tournament. Duke sneaked by the University of Central Florida and Virginia Tech in the second and third rounds, winning by margins of one and two points. When they got to the Elite Eight, however, they were overpowered by Michigan State University.

Though Duke was better than Michigan State on paper, the Spartans played better as a team throughout the game, relying heavily on their tournament experience. Even though this Duke team seemed destined for greatness in March Madness, the squad ultimately underperformed relative to its immense hype.

This trend of college teams with multiple stars ultimately falling short in the NCAA tournament goes back way further than this year’s Duke team. For years, college basketball teams like this year’s Duke squad have seemed to be destined for success. Yet when the brightest lights were on the teams, they ultimately failed. Teams like these ones did not know who to run their offense through because all of the top players thought they should have the ball in their hands, letting their egos get in the way of getting the job done.

The 2009-10 Kentucky basketball team was another team that should have accomplished far more than it did. Before the season, Kentucky hauled in a stellar recruiting class, including the likes of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe. These three players were some of the most exciting prospects in the country. All three of them have gone on to have incredibly successful NBA careers.

In the regular season, these players lived up to the hype: Kentucky only lost two regular season games and cruised through the SEC tournament. Through the first three rounds of the NCAA tournament, the team appeared they would comfortably win and become known as one of the greatest teams in history.

In the Elite Eight, however, they fell to an inferior West Virginia team. Kentucky missed 20 straight three-point field goals that night and could not find a spark offensively. Although the team was built for NCAA success, they could not live up to the high expectations in the NCAA tournament.

Kentucky also had a strong 2014-15 recruiting class, including Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis and Trey Lyles, who have all made a name for themselves in the NBA, yet this team also ultimately fell short. This collection of five-star recruits allowed Kentucky to have one of the best college seasons in recent history. Kentucky went undefeated throughout the regular season and easily won the SEC tournament.

They were dismantling teams in the early rounds of the NCAA tournament, including a 78-39 win over West Virginia. They eventually made the Final Four and were matched up against Sam Dekker’s University of Wisconsin-Madison. Although the game was close until the end, Wisconsin dominated on the offensive and won by out-working them. Kentucky was handed its first loss that year and had their amazing season story cut short. Once again, this Kentucky team showed that too much hype can be a curse.

College basketball teams succeed when everyone knows their role and offenses make sure all players touch the ball. These three teams will still go down as some of the most exciting and talented teams to play, but none of them will be able to say that they were NCAA champions.

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