Last night, I outlined why I believe all of Duke’s preseason buzz will actually help Kentucky this season, and today, CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish has a great breakdown of the two teams, which rank first and second in the AP Poll. Parrish compares each team’s starting lineups, bench, coaching, strengths, weaknesses, and schedules to explain why he thinks the Blue Devils are superior. According to his logic, Kentucky actually has a better starting five (De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, Wenyen Gabriel, and Bam Adebayo) than the Blue Devils.
“Needless to say, Duke and Kentucky are so talented that both could start games in a variety of ways. And they probably will throughout the season based on health and matchups. But sources connected to each program suggested the above possible starting lineups when asked. And, frankly, I think I prefer this Kentucky lineup to this Duke lineup because the Wildcats A) have a true — not to mention awesome — point guard, and B) seem set to start their five most talented players. Duke, on the other hand, doesn’t have a true point guard and probably isn’t going to start its five most talented players. So I’ll give Kentucky’s starters an advantage over Duke’s starters — mostly because I love the De’Aaron Fox/Malik Monk backcourt that will definitely be the nation’s most exciting and maybe also its best.”
On the flip side, Parrish argues that Duke’s bench is stronger than Kentucky’s (which is true) but the Cats’ “biggest weakness” (youth) are less worrisome than the Blue Devils’ (no true point guard, injuries). What about coaching? You won’t like his answer, but you can read it at CBSSports.com.