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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Carolina Tar Heels @ Kentucky Wildcats 2011 -- Who Has The Edge

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Rush The Court is getting the jump on everybody as it previews the North Carolina Tar Heels @ Kentucky Wildcats game in Rupp Arena seven months from now.  Maybe I'll just bookmark this thing and copy it for my game preview next year.

Then again, maybe not.  You can read the whole thing, but I'm going weigh in on some of their conclusions, briefly:

  • Marquis Teague vs. Kendall Marshall.  RTC's conclusion of advantage Marshall is largely based on experience.  I think this is defensible, but I don't agree that "Teague won’t be quite as explosive or dynamic as his predecessors at the position."  To the contrary, Teague is as dynamic as Brandon Knight off the dribble and a significantly better passer.  Teague is not the scoring threat that Knight or Wall was (even though he gets to the rim at will and has a good midrange game), but on a team with as many weapons offensively as UK will have next year, that won't be necessary.

    Whether all that will be on display that early in the season, though, is a question that tends to support RTC's point about experience.  I do believe Teague will have an athletic advantage on Marshall, as well as a talent advantage.  I'll cop to a tiny edge for Marshall, but that's all.
  • Dexter Strickland vs. Doron Lamb - RTC and I are in agreement here.  Lamb is a better shooter and a much more polished offensive player.

  • Harrison Barnes vs. [Disputed].  RTC thinks the starter at small forward will be Michael Gilchrist, but I'm pretty sure at that point in the season it will be Darius Miller.  Barnes and Miller have already matched up a couple of times, although Liggins had him at least as much.  Barnes scored 18 points, but went only 2 of 9 from 3 in the NCAA tournament, while Miller went 2/3 and had 11 points in only 26 minutes vs. Barnes' 34.

    The bad news for Barnes is while he is potentially the Tar Heels best wing scorer, he is not a great defender and both Miler and Michael Gilchrist will be approximately splitting the minutes at that spot.  Gilchrist has a reputation as an outstanding defender and he is bigger than Barnes, so the advantage at this spot, in my opinion, is a very minor advantage to Barnes, just because he is that good.

  • Terrence Jones vs. John Henson.  RTC gives the edge to Henson here, presumably on experience.  I can't agree.  In two attempts this year against Kentucky, Henson won one and Jones won one, in my opinion.  I think that overall, a sophomore Jones has the edge over a junior Henson.  Jones is just better, and can do things that Henson's length cannot defend.

  • Tyler Zeller vs. Anthony Davis.  RTC gives the edge to Zeller Davis here.  Davis is a unique talent, in a way almost as unique as John Wall.  Davis is perhaps the best shot-blocker ever to play at Kentucky as a freshman, and he hasn't played the first game yet.  He is also a dynamic offensive player who hasn't even begun to truly grasp his abilities, but by this time, he will have a clue.  Zeller will have a significant experience advantage, but Davis' athletic and skill advantage will completely negate that.  I call this a push.

I completely agree with RTC that the bench favors Carolina, although perhaps not as much as he seems to think, but a significant one nonetheless.  The game being at Rupp Arena favors Kentucky

However, I also agree with RTC that this will be a very close, hard-fought game that could easily go either way.  So even though we don't agree about every detail, I think overall we are on the same page about the game.  It should be a very, very good one, and we'll be rolling this around on our taste buds for months to come.