By LARRY VAUGHT
One reason I’ve always loved Dick Vitale is that he thinks basketball non-stop. No matter what else is going on, Vitale always has college basketball first.
That’s why it is no surprise just as the college football season is getting ready to start, Vitale has announced his preseason Sweet 16 for college basketball.
Here’s what he had to say about his top five choices:
1. Kansas Jayhawks
Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk! Bill Self was happy to have Udoka Azubuike return and if he stays healthy, watch out. Devon Dotson also comes back and a nice nucleus returns.
2. Michigan State Spartans
Cassius Winston is a legitimate Wooden Award candidate. A healthy Joshua Langford can be a major factor. Just sorry that Nick Ward is not back.
3. Kentucky Wildcats
John Calipari will reload. Newcomers Kahlil Whitney and Tyrese Maxey should have an immediate impact. Ashton Hagans will have a big year and EJ Montgomery should improve.
4. Duke Blue Devils
No Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett or Cam Reddish, no problem. Tre Jones is back and Vernon Carey Jr. is the next diaper dandy to step up.
5. Louisville Cardinals
Chris Mack has done a great job in a short time. Jordan Nwora is back and big things are expected from 6-foot-7 Samuell Williamson. Transfer LaMarr “Fresh” Kimble from St. Joseph’s will help.
Completing his top 16 in order are Florida, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Memphis, Villanova, Arizona, Texas Tech, Seton Hall and Ohio State.
Of course, in Vitale’s top 16, UK will play No. 2 Michigan State, No. 5 Louisville, No. 6 Florida (twice) and No. 14 Texas Tech. That’s a pretty potent schedule.