One of the greatest off-season debates of all time has been the question of which team would win in a head-to-head match-up? The 2010 Kentucky basketball team or the 2012 national championship winning Kentucky basketball team. Both teams are arguably the most talented groups John Calipari has coached since his arrival in Lexington. Although both teams are loaded with talented players, the make-up of each team is very different. Many people have made the argument that simply based on talent alone, the 2010 team is stronger. Others say that the 2012 team is stronger because they didn’t really have a weakness and they were brilliant in the area of execution. Regardless of which side of the coin you choose in the debate, the one thing we can surely all agree upon is that watching those 2 teams square off against one another would be ridiculously fun and entertaining.
And now, it looks as if that game might just be a real possibility. DeWayne Peevy is working hard to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Hopefully the result will live up to the expectations of the Big Blue Nation, which are a mile high. With the potential game coming our way soon, there’s plenty to think about/speculate on in regards to the game. Here are my 10 questions/thoughts on the 2010 vs. 2012 Kentucky Alumni Game. Or as I will now refer to it, “The Off-Season Dream Game.”
1) Which team will Darius Miller play for?
Darius Miller is the lone holdover who happened to play for both the 2010 and 2012 teams (excluding Jon Hood who is still on Kentucky’s roster). Miller was a crucial member of each team’s success. Miller played starter’s minutes on both teams. Does he split the game, one half a piece? Does he go to whichever team has the smallest number of players who can participate? If everyone shows up, I think you could make the argument either way as to which team needs him more. The 2012 team has less depth in general, but MKG can play the 3. The 2012 team would also be without Kyle Wiltjer as an added piece of depth. The 2010 team has more depth, but Liggins can play the 3. Prediction: Miller plays 1 half with each team.
2) Josh Harrellson and DeAndre Liggins immediately make the 2010 team better than it was at the time
Josh Harrellson and DeAndre Liggins were both members of the 2010 Kentucky team, but neither reached close to his full potential while on that team. Harrellson played very, very sparingly and Liggins was used in a limited role as well. If the 2011 version of both of those players is added to the 2010 crew that already was the most talented team in the country that season, that team is instantly better. Liggins and Harrellson could be the x-factor if the 2010 team wins.
3) The most intriguing match-up Part I: Finesse vs. Braun
DeMarcus Cousins vs. Anthony Davis is an intriguing match-up. The two players are polar opposites in nature. Davis has more of an outside touch and a much slimmer and nimble frame. Cousins is a better back to the basket player with a ton of slick post moves. Davis is a shot blocking sensation, and Cousins would be a load down low physically for Davis. An argument could be made on either players’ behalf as to who has been the best center in the Calipari era at Kentucky. Prediction: Lots of dunks from both players. Davis gets in at least one nasty block on Cousins though. Cousins still finishes with 20+ points. Davis finishes with much fewer points, but has a tremendous impact on the game nonetheless (see 2012 national championship game).
4) The most intriguing match-up Part II: Patrick Patterson vs. Terrence Jones
Patrick Patterson was as beloved of a player as Kentucky has had in quite some time. Terrence Jones ended his career on a great note with Kentucky fans, but at times was a bit of a thorn in Big Blue Nation’s side. Strictly in terms of the game of basketball though, who wins the battle? Prediction: Draw
5) Who will coach the game?
John Calipari always likes to throw in a little treat/curve ball when it comes to the coaches for this type of event. Will he go the more traditional route and perhaps bring in a guy like Joe B. Hall? Or will he go for the wow factor and try to bring in a celebrity like Drake? Or will Calipari split time “coaching” both teams? Prediction: Cal will bring in someone famous. Joe B. Hall will get an honorary spot on the bench though.
6) Rupp Arena could legitimately sell out
It’s always hard to predict the interest level for something like this. We’ve seen similar types of events thrown by Kentucky, and some have had more success than others. It has been hard in the off-season to get a complete sell-out though. With this group of players, IF they all (or at least almost all) actually show up… I think it will be the most highly attended event of its nature for Kentucky basketball. Prediction: Rupp Arena will be close to a sell out.
7) Daniel Orton’s reception could be interesting…
Daniel Orton is rumored to potentially be a part of the 2010 team for this game. Orton has not been back to Rupp Arena since his time as a Wildcat. His departure was a little shaky to say the least. Prediction: I think Kentucky fans will bury the hatchet and give Orton a warm reception when he is announced in Rupp Arena. Kentucky fans can be tough, but we tend to be forgiving of our own.
8) The 2010 bench will have more depth if everyone shows up
The 2010 team had more depth to start with, but as I mentioned before…the bench has been beefed up a bit with the emergence of Jorts and Liggins as big-time players. The 2010 team could have a big advantage in numbers as well if guys like Ramon Harris and Perry Stevenson come back for the event too. I’m going to go ahead and assume that Darnell Dodson will not be back. Just a guess with a high likelihood. The 2012 team could struggle a bit on depth without Kyle Wiltjer and Jarrod Polson.
9) Will it get a little chippy?
Usually in this type of exhibition game scenario, you would expect both teams to be very casual, light and friendly. Both of these teams are filled with ultra-competitive guys though. The players are still young, and most of them are still playing at a high level (most at THE highest level). I think both teams will go at each other hard. I’d like to think that it will all remain fun and games, but I can foresee some major, major trash talking.
10) 2010 team will win
I’ll go ahead and throw down the gauntlet. The 2010 team will win this game. They will come in with a chip on their shoulder after being replaced in some people’s minds as the best Calipari team by the 2012 team, because that team did what they could not quite accomplish: win a national championship. I truly think that fact still bothers some of the guys. Pride will kick in and I think the 2010 team’s depth will be the overriding factor in the end.
If the 2012 team played against 100 different college basketball teams and the 2010 team played against 100 different college basketball teams, I think the 2012 team would win more of those games.
If the 2010 team played 10 games against the 2012 team, I think the 2010 team would win 6 times.