Tyler Smith understands Calipari hype

Maybe Tennessee fans don't understand why there has been so much preseason hype about Kentucky basketball, but the Vols' best player — Tyler Smith — does.

"The biggest thing in college basketball in the offseason was coach Cal going to UK. Until we start playing, that will be the same thing no matter where you go. We understand that as players and competitors," Smith said. "Even coach Pearl understands that. I feel where everybody is coming from, but it is the preseason. We were ranked pretty high in the preseason last year and you saw what happened, so you never know what can happen in a long season."

Ouch! That's a good point because Tennessee's lofty preseason ranking last year meant absolutely nothing. But now the Vols have five seniors, a huge edge in experience over Kentucky. Again, though, Smith admits experience is not everything.

"Experience can work to your advantage. On our side, it will work to our advantage to have experience. But at the same time, Kentucky has great young players. They are the number one recruiting class in the nation and have the potential No. 1 pick in the draft in John Wall. Guys are getting better and better every year, but you can never go wrong with veterans on the team like we have. But that doesn't mean Kentucky could not be great with a lot of freshmen, either," Smith said.

"It is going to be crazy with Cal at Kentucky. Kentucky is really going to like coach Cal. He is a great recruiter and great coach. That is going to do nothing but bring more great players to Kentucky. He had great players at Memphis. You can't say UK is better (this year than Memphis), but he really has an edge because UK is UK."

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