Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Louisville looks good (at exhibition game #2)

Thanks to the magic of ESPN3 I just watched Louisville's exhibition game #2. Holy cow, I couldn' believe it, this team looks promising too, with a good chance of a repeat. Harrell is a beast and as Bob V. mentioned during the game, he was a bit of a Tyler Hansbro "Psycho T" in that he never stopped being involved with the game. Chris Jones looked very good too. DJ Ware is back and that is just great news after that horrible injury. And he looks good too. The backcot (Pitino pronounciation) is loaded with Rozier and the other freshman too. Mango looks very promising as well. And this team is still missing Behanan and Hancock. But talent does not always equal results, and the impact of Siva and Gorgui Dieng, team wise, was a lot bigger than numbers and talent and NBA potential can tell.

Short of the 2006 Florida Gators team, Louisville has about as good of a chance for a repeat as any team is probably going to get in the modern era. It's just that this looks like a jam-packed at the top season with many of the big names having championship potential teams (Kentucky, Kansas, Puke, the two Michigans, Arizona, Marcus Smart State, etc), so repeating is going to be harder than it could have been on some other years.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Thoughts on the 2013-2014 Kentucky Dream Team after watching the two exhibition games

So I managed to find the two Kentucky 2013-2014 Dream Team exhibition games on cable TV thanks to the regional Fox Sports stations. With all the buzz around this year's Kentucky dream team and (at least on paper) the best recruiting class of all time, I had to watch. What did I see?

A lot of promise. Both Julius Randle and James Young in their own ways are game changers. James Young, it is so unusual for a high ranked wing to be so interested in defense, and that makes him a game changer. We know of at least one great player who was obsessed with both ends of the court. Does UK has a "Baby Jordan" in James Young?

There are plenty of forwards and centers, so Calipari can mix and match as he pleases. Polson and Hood could be valueable cogs in a championship wheel. They looked better than one would have expected from two walk-on-ish type of players (especially relative to the rest of the high ranked recruits that typically play under Calipari).

But there are risks. The two star returning players are both big forwards. Other than Polson (with limited playing time when it matters), there is no experienced returning backcourt player. An experienced backcourt player can go a long ways when things start falling apart. Situations where it could make or break a single elimination game.

Another risk, there are a lot of versatile players who can play in the backcourt, but there are no short guards. Can this taller team handle a short speedy guard oriented talented team in a single elimination game? Let's not forget, Sharp Dressed Man's Villanova four-guard team almost took out the 2009 North Carolina championship team, and that UNC team had talented short guards.

Other risks: free throws, dealing with pack-it-in defenses, being able to stop high volume scorers (#25 Brown of Montevallo).

Having said all that, this is based on just two exhibition games. Calipari has already done this two years ago with a Dream Team of Super Recruits, so it gives everyone involved more confidence that it can be done again.

I haven't seen enough to make predictions, but it looks like this is going to be an exciting basketball season, in terms of both super-freshmen and loaded talented super teams.

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