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CBS Sports Classic capsule: Kentucky

By Eye on College Basketball staff | CBSSports.com

John Calipari and Kentucky will take on UCLA in the 2014 CBS Sports Classic.  (USATSI)
John Calipari and Kentucky will take on UCLA in the 2014 CBS Sports Classic. (USATSI)

CBS Sports Classic: More on event | Kentucky | North Carolina | Ohio State | UCLA

Team: Kentucky Wildcats

National Titles: 8

Final Fours: 16

Coach (record): John Calipari (597-177, 152-37 at Kentucky)

2013-14 record: 29-11

2014 NCAA Tournament result: Lost to Connecticut in national title game

Current Top 25 (and one) rank: No. 1

All-Time Record vs. UCLA: 6-4

Projected lineup:

  • G: Andrew Harrison
  • G: Aaron Harrison
  • F: Alex Poythress
  • F: Trey Lyles
  • C: Dakari Johnson

Early scouting report/how they match up vs. UCLA: The Wildcats will be ranked No. 1 in the preseason for a variety of reasons -- most of which center around a roster featuring nine McDonald's All-Americans and, perhaps, that many future first-round NBA Draft picks. Simply put, UK is loaded again, and the experience gained via a trip to the 2014 national championship game should, at least theoretically, allow the Wildcats to avoid the early season (and midseason and late-season) stumbles that prevented them from being great until the NCAA Tournament tipped and they recorded victories over Kansas State, Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Truth be told, the biggest challenge facing John Calipari at the United Center won't be a UCLA team that actually lost more underclassmen to the NBA Draft than Kentucky lost to the NBA Draft as much as it'll be trying to find the appropriate number of minutes for all of the talented prospects he's lured to Lexington. On that topic, I wish him luck because there's no way to keep everybody happy as long as the nine McDonald's All-Americans remain healthy. Still, it's a nice problem to have, right? And, either way, the Kentucky frontcourt players, no matter how Calipari chooses to use them, will provide a tough early test for a UCLA frontcourt led by Tony Parker, a junior, and three five-star recruits -- namely Kevon Looney, Jonah Bolden and Thomas Welsh -- and it's hard to imagine a scenario where UCLA coach Steve Alford doesn't spend Dec. 20 wishing Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine would've stuck around Westwood for just one more year.

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