January 18, 2013

Experience is on Auburn's side

AUBURN -- The University of Kentucky basketball team is perhaps the most heralded in the college game.

Coach John Calipari seems to sign his choice of the nation's top high-school prospects each year and somehow melds that group of youngsters into a contender. He won a national championship last season with a starting five that included three freshmen and two sophomores.

Yet behind the scenes, at least during the past few seasons, is a savvy veteran or two who help when help is needed. Senior Darius Miller was that man last season. It was Patrick Patterson the year before.

The Wildcats don't have a savvy veteran these days - and Auburn players believe that's why Kentucky finds now finds itself unranked.

"I don't think that they have the same veteran leadership that they had the past two years," said forward Allen Payne, who grew up 90 minutes north of Lexington in suburban Cincinnati. "You can't discount the talent they have. The only thing they're missing is their leadership - their veteran leadership. They're probably more talented."

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