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By LARRY VAUGHT
Dick Vitale thinks there will be “lots of jubilation” for both Kentucky and Louisville fans next basketball season, but the colorful ESPN analyst gives the edge to John Calipari’s team. Here is part of what he wrote in a recent post:
“The Wildcats have great depth thanks to an outstanding recruiting class. I honestly believe that Kentucky’s second team would be good enough to be ranked in the top 20 by themselves! I know there were plenty of detractors looking at last year’s squad.
“Remember, the Cats did win 21 games and they beat Florida and Missouri. Guys like Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kyle Wiltjer will be that much better with the added year of experience. They can serve in a role similar to Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller on the national title team, mentoring the younger players. Those guys have now seen quality minutes on the road and in challenging situations. They will help the young guys blend in and get a feel for the competition.
“Kentucky will be a much better team, especially on the perimeter with the addition of the Harrison Twins. That will take care of the dilemma that hurt them big-time last season. There was inconsistency from Archie Goodwin (who left for the pros) and Ryan Harrow (transferred out). They were not up to the standards Calipari was used to on the perimeter. That will change.
“Louisville has unbelievable talent returning with Russ Smith passing on the NBA. Luke Hancock is more confident after earning the Most Outstanding Player honor at the Final Four. He will have a greater role. Chane Behanan showed what he is capable of on the glass in crunch time in Atlanta. Wayne Blackshear is also back, and Kevin Ware should be healthy too following that gruesome injury in the NCAA tournament. Pitino has recruited well too.”