VAUGHT: Sutton says don't give up on Cats

It was interesting to hear Tennessee Tech coach Mike Sutton willingly compare Kentucky and Florida, two teams that beat his Golden Eagles by similar margins this year.

Certainly Sutton, a former Tubby Smith assistant, has a soft spot in his heart for UK and made no secret of that after the game. However, his analysis of Kentucky-Florida was not from the heart. It was what he felt based on how each team played against Tennessee Tech.

"I think Kentucky has more talent than Florida. Florida's bench is limited. Kentucky has more size," Sutton said. "Kentucky is more athletic."

Sutton did see Florida having the edge on offense.

"Florida is very skilled and good on offense, but they just are not as athletic as Kentucky," Sutton said. "They certainly do not have the size of Kentucky. Florida does shoot the 3 better."

Sutton calls Florida freshman guard-forward Nick Calathes a "special" player who makes others around him better similar to what Sutton felt Derrick Jasper did for Kentucky last year as a freshman.

And while both have struggled, Sutton confidently proclaimed he thought both would be NCAA Tournament teams.

"Fans just don't always understand how a team might improve or what might happen when SEC play starts," Sutton said. "Kentucky has not had its team together yet. When they get all those guys playing together and playing well, they are really going to be good. They just need some more time."

Sutton says not to underestimate the impact UK freshman Patrick Patterson will have on SEC play.

"I've watched most of the SEC teams play and I think Patterson is going to do very, very well in the league," Sutton said. "He's intelligent. He knows how to move. He knows how to get the ball. He knows how to finish.

"More importantly, he's not a selfish player. He gets others involved and when you watch them play, you can see the improvement he is making every game. By the end of the year, he's really going to be something.

"And when Jodie Meeks is in there making shots, Patterson is just going to be better. They also have two of the best seniors in the SEC in Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley. Those guys are players any team would like to have.

"So when you take Patterson, Meeks, Crawford and Bradley, you have four really good players. Just wait and see if this year doesn't turn out better than a lot of people think it will for Kentucky."

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