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By LARRY VAUGHT
Dick Vitale has never been shy voicing his opinions, and he wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t recently when he told Kentucky coach John Calipari he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think he could win a national championship by having to Ã¢â‚¬Å“reloadÃ¢â‚¬Â his roster every year as heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s doing again this year at Kentucky.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have debated with John and have told him this and he could prove me wrong. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think you can win national championship with a reloading of the roster year after year. You can win a lot of games as he did last year with talent that was outstanding as we are seeing now in the NBA,Ã¢â‚¬Â said the ESPN analyst during a conference call Tuesday. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But I really believe when you in the NCAA Tournament and get to the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight and those teams are maybe as good of teams and certainly have experienced winning talent.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Kentucky has talent again with Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and others. I think they will win a lot of games. But I do not think they can win a national title.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas noted that coaches need talent to win, but pointed out that most coaches would prefer talented juniors and seniors rather than super talented freshmen like UK had last year and does again this year. He noted that older players know more about how to play and are physically and emotionally more mature.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why older mid-majors teams are so hard to beat (in the NCAA). They are so experienced and understand what is going on and how to come to work every day and how to take care of themselves,Ã¢â‚¬Â Bilas said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was amazed at how well Kentucky did last year even with its super talent. They are so young this year again and are starting over. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a hard way to play. For them to win 34 or 35 games like they did last year was remarkable,Ã¢â‚¬Â Bilas said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“For this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team to match what last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team accomplished would be extraordinary. I do not think that could even be expected.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Vitale said Calipari quickly disagreed with his analysis about a talented young team being able to win a national title.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Obviously he is going to disagree. He thinks one thing Ã¢â‚¬â€ win, win, win. He has done an incredible job.Ã¢â‚¬Â