One of the best games of the upcoming college basketball season will be played early in December.
North Carolina, the consensus preseason No. 1 team will play Kentucky, the preseason No. 2, in Lexington on December 3rd.
During an online chat with fans, Vitale was asked which team he thinks will win and he gave the edge to Kentucky.
You have to give an edge to Kentucky, because they're playing at home. But UNC will bring in a loaded team. I have UNC one and Kentucky two. But understand the magnitude. The interest. Kentucky fans are so passionate. The bottom line is it's really important how you peak come March. It's a great game for the teams to play, but it's not the end all. The coaches will understand that. Kentucky will get tested early. They have some multi-talented players.
One thing Vital neglected to add to the equation is Roy Williams. He hates losing and you have to figure that Kentucky beating him in the Elite 8 last season left a bitter taste in his mouth. Of course he is coming for revenge.
Games played this early don't really matter but this is a matchup made in heaven for a college hoops head, even if they are not huge fans of either teams.
The losing team will fall in the rankings, if only temporarily, and other teams can take their place so that's another reason this game is important.
Kentucky fans are passionate but North Carolina fans are also just as passionate. Surely more than a few of them will make it to Lexington.
However being able to play on an opposing team's court, no matter how hostile it may be, will only strengthen a team. North Carolina has a lot of experience playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium, home of Duke.
Kentucky has four freshmen to incorporate with at least three starting.
Four of the incoming freshmen are five-star rated recruits. Kyle Wiltjer, Michael Kidd-GilChrist, Maquis Teague and Anthony Davis will make Kentucky one of the greatest teams in college basketball in years.
Davis and Harrison Barnes are both currently being considered to be the No.1 pick of the 2012 NBA draft.
John Henson and Tyler Zeller will be looking to prove themselves against Davis and Terrence Jones.
There is a lot more riding on this game than people think.
North Carolina has experience on their side. If not they can rely on the fact that they have beaten Kentucky 22 times in 34 meetings. If that's any consolation.
James Michael McAdoo and PJ Hairston will strengthen the bench for North Carolina. So will a healthy Reggie Bullock.
Clearly The Tar Heels are not the same team that Kentucky beat in the last NCAA tournament.
Neither is Kentucky with the loss of several key players, including Brandon Knight, Josh Harrellson and DeAndre Liggins.
Put this game in your calender because it promises to be one of the best next season, after all it could be a preview of the national finals four months later.