Written By: Michael McCarty/@mick_mccarty
If your biggest concern about Tuesday November 6this who you are going to vote for in the midterm elections then you probably don’t live in Kentucky. It’s basketball season in the bluegrass and it is going to be a great year. Kentucky starts off the season with a power matchup against fellow blue blood Duke. This game potentially will have anywhere between twelve to fourteen future NBA players on the rosters. This is a must see game!
Both the Wildcats and the Blue Devils were able to play early exhibition games in August to prepare for this season. That gives both these young teams some extra practice time together before this marquee match up. They both also easily won all of their exhibitions getting both fan bases fired up for the season. There are also rumors that the freshmen on both teams did not get along very well at the McDonalds All American game so look for there to be some trash talk on the court.
Duke is a team that is built around four players, all of which are freshman. Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, Tre Jones, and RJ Barrett are not just the best players on the team they are some of the best players in college basketball. Basketball is a sport where stars win you games and Duke needs this to be true because outside of those four guys there is not much on their roster. This is going to be Coach K’s hardest coaching job to date. He has three small forwards and a point guard that he needs to mold together into a compatible team. Foul trouble and conditioning will also play an important role for this Duke team, especially early in the season. They are not deep and cannot afford to have any of their big four off the court for very long.
Kentucky on the other hand is a very deep team. Kentucky has nine legitimate players that would see court time at any power five conference team. They have twice in John Calipari’s time as the UK coach has he had this many returning and experienced players. One of those two teams won the title and the other one went 38-1. Kentucky does not have the star power that Duke has but they have a graduate senior transfer in All Pac 12 big man Reid Travis. They also return PJ Washington and Quade Green that were both major contributors from last year’s team. New comers Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro are extremely talented players that are going to be key to this team having success. For Kentucky to be the team that everyone expects them to be they are going to need one of these players rise up and become a star this season.
Before I put my prediction for the Duke game I feel the need to explain that I will never be picking UK’s opponent in this section. Kentucky is the greatest tradition in college basketball and the expectations and belief I have in this years team is very high. They will lose games because every team does. I just don’t think they have a game on their schedule where they are not the better team. With that out of the way I have UK being too much depth for Duke wearing them down and getting a decent second half lead. UK 82 – Duke 67.