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By LARRY VAUGHT
As the debate continues about who should be No. 1 going into the college basketball season, I turned to my most knowledgeable source Ã¢â‚¬â€ Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook (www.Blueribboninsider.com) editor Chris Dortch.
Queston: Will you have North Carolina, Ohio State or Kentucky No. 1 in your preseason Blue Ribbon poll?
Dortch: Ã¢â‚¬Å“North Carolina.Ã¢â‚¬Â
VaughtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comment: With North CarolinaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s returning talent and experience, makes sense.
Question: Will there be a better non-conference matchup this season than the Kentucky-North Carolina game and your early instinct on who you think will win that game?
Dortch: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I can’t think of a better pre-conference game. The annual UK-UNC game is good for college basketball. My instinct says UNC will win because of its experience at point guard and in the post.Ã¢â‚¬Â
VaughtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comment: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy to understand DortchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s logic. However, this will be THE GAME OF THE YEAR in Rupp Arena. Normally, it would be Louisville. But not this year and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why I think the Rupp Arena magic will turn the game into a win for CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Cats.
Question: Who is your early pick to be the SEC Player of the Year?
Dortch: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Terrence Jones.Ã¢â‚¬Â
VaughtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comment: Sound logic there. Jones was one of the leagueÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s better players last year and figures to be even better this season. His only problem could be that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to adopt a Patrick Patterson-like attitude Ã¢â‚¬â€ sacrifice individual stats for more team wins Ã¢â‚¬â€ and that could hurt him in Player of the Year voting.
Question: Who will have a bigger impact for Kentucky this season Ã¢â‚¬â€ Jones, Doron Lamb, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Anthony Davis?
Dortch: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I’m placing a lot of stock in Jones. He’s going to be a first-team preseason All-America in Blue Ribbon and will also be on the cover with the other four All-American picks.Ã¢â‚¬Â
VaughtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comment: Myself,Ã¢â‚¬Ë†I am going with Davis because he needs to have a big impact inside and will get plenty of chances to do so.