ICYMI: Having fun with Kentucky basketball lineup combinations

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Mar 8, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Alex Poythress (22) and guard Aaron Harrison (2) against the Florida Gators during the second half at Stephen C. O

We all know by now that John Calipari is going have his hands full in trying to pick out the right lineup combinations next season. The team will go at least 10 deep — at least there will be 10 players who have legitimate claims for playing time — with a mix of bigs, guards, veterans and freshmen. It’s sort of an unusual Kentucky team for Calipari, considering the amount of options he has, but handling loads of talent is something he’s always been great at.

As of now, it’s difficult to pick out “locks” for the starting lineup outside of maybe the Harrison twins. The front court is chocked full with different types of bigs, so the starters there could very well come down to how Calipari wants this team to play the majority of the time. The recruiting gurus say this is Calipari’s most skilled class he’s had at Kentucky, and I can see why — all four seem more like basketball players rather than athletes still looking to find their niche on the court. It will be interesting to see how they fit in with the returning core.

Nevertheless, this is a problem any team in the country would love to have — bring in as much talent as possible and see where it fits from there. Here’s a look at some combinations we could see this upcoming season, both obvious and others that would be entertaining at the least:

My guess at the starting lineup:   Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Alex Poythress, Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein

I’ve gone back and forth on what freshman — if any — will be entered in to the starting five, but my guess at this point would be Towns. More on this later, but a front court of Poythress, Towns and Cauley-Stein gives you a mix of outside shooting (assuming Towns is the floor spacer they say he can be ), post play and rim protection. Again, Poythress’ ability to develop and at least be a threat from the outside will be huge for Kentucky and especially this group. Ultimately, this group is one of the most veteran sides Calipari will have, hardly any opponent will be able to keep them off the offensive glass and it’s likely they’ll be the most dependable at the beginning of the season. (Note: I could see Trey Lyles starting over Towns as well).

The lineup Calipari will turn to when he’s upset with Andrew’s play:   Tyler Ulis, Aa. Harrison, Devin Booker/Poythress, Towns/Lyles, WCS/Dakari Johnson

I looked at the likelihood of the Harrison twins improving heading into next season last month, but that doesn’t mean Calipari won’t have a quick trigger with any one of them, especially Andrew. Andrew is naturally more of a point guard than Aaron, and with Ulis now in the fold, it’s likely he’ll turn to the freshman during this time. Ulis is obviously unlike most of the other lead guards Calipari usually brings in, but his ability to get an offense going with his pass-first mindset will provide a good balance with the Twins.