Fogler expects UK to be better

College basketball analyst Eddie Fogler says no one can disagree about Florida, LSU and Alabama being legitimate Final Four contenders going into this season. He also admits he can't remember a year when preseason expectations were so high for the Southeastern Conference.

College basketball analyst Eddie Fogler says no one can disagree about Florida, LSU and Alabama being legitimate Final Four contenders going into this season. He also admits he can't remember a year when preseason expectations were so high for the Southeastern Conference.

But what about Kentucky, the team Folger used to coach against when he was at Vanderbilt and South Carolina? Are the Wildcats down or has the SEC just improved so much that UK is no better than the fourth-best team going into the season?

"That's hard to say. I think Kentucky will have another very good team. I think the jury is still out a little bit with Kentucky, but I think it is probably a combination of both. I think the league is probably better than it has been in a number of years, but I am also not sure the talent level is where it has been in the past at Kentucky."

Before you bash Folger, let him continue with his preseason analysis.

"Kentucky has a great coach. Tubby Smith is a proven winner, particularly on the defensive end of the court where it is always hard to get great shots against Kentucky. I did a game two years ago and was blown away by his defense. Opponents seldom shoot 50 percent on them, and that makes it a lot easier to win," Fogler said.

A big year from center Randolph Morris would help the Cats immensely as well. "He has to have a more consistent year. Obvioulsy him missing 13 games last year threw their chemistry off. He has to be better than I think he has played in the past, particularly on the defensive end. He obviously is a good scorer with a good touch. However, he rebounds the ball straight up. He is not a real good defender and he should block more shots."

Can a team that lost 13 games last year and eight players, including first-round draft pick Rajon Rondo, realistically hope to improve this year and become a national title contender?

"They can be better. I don't think there is any doubt. Look at Florida last year. What's the message? You lose three really good players, nobody expects anything and you win a national championship," Fogler said. "If Florida can do that, why not Kentucky.

" I do think Kentucky can be better. As good as Rondo was, he didn't shoot the ball very well. On the offensive end of the court, you have to put the ball in the basket. They do return guards with good experience, I think their chemistry will be better and I think their players will be better. I do expect Kentucky to be better."


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