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Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Kentucky, Louisville will decide title

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

The good times will continue to roll in the Bluegrass State.

I believe we will see a trifecta -- three years in a row, a team from the state will walk away with a national championship.

Two years ago, it was John Calipari and diaper dandies Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist cutting down the nets in New Orleans. Then it was a gutty, tenacious Louisville winning it all in Atlanta, beating a solid Michigan team. There will be lots of jubilation for the fans of both Kentucky and Louisville ahead. They are going to be special. Both teams are loaded, though they are being built differently.

Andrew Harrison
Andrew Harrison and his twin brother Aaron should vault Kentucky back into the national title picture.

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.

The state of Kentucky will be rocking and rolling once again. The sea of blue and the sea of red will have a lot to celebrate in the upcoming season.