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Coach Cal Was Asked If Duke Is The Team To Beat This Year

Zion Williamson goes up for a dunk during Duke's win over Kentucky.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 06: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils goes up to dunk the ball against the kentucky Wildcats during the State Farm Champions Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on November 6, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats got the first look at Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and company when they played Duke in the Champions Classic to start the season.

Since then, the Blue Devils have gone on a tear in the NCAA while the Wildcats have stayed on their heels. But with Duke maintaining a consistent edge as the betting favorite to win the NCAA title, Coach Cal gave his thoughts on whether the Blue Devils are, indeed, the team to beat.

On the Thursday edition of ESPN's Get Up!, transcribed by 247Sports, Coach Cal said that Duke is "really, really good" but noted that there were "five, six, or seven teams" that could be contenders for the NCAA title as well. He also hinted to the "one-and-done" nature of the NCAA tournament playing a huge role in deciding the champion.

“They’re really, really good,” Calipari said. “They beat us by 100 early in the year. They did whatever they wanted. I don’t know what the score was, but it wasn’t that close. But I see five, six or seven teams that have separated themselves. But you never know in this thing. If you have a streaky kind of shooting team - my first year in 2010 that’s what we had then we go 0-for-16 from the 3-point line in a game and we lose. You never know in these situations because it’s one-and-done. It’s not like we have another game left. This is it.”

The Blue Devils are 18-2 on the year and 7-1 in the ACC, with narrow losses to No. 3 Gonzaga and Syracuse the only things keeping them from perfection. During that time, Williamson and Barrett have emerged as potential top-two picks in the next NBA draft.

Coach Cal's team didn't go into a rut after losing to the Blue Devils though.

The Wildcats' two other losses came by a combined three points, and the team is currently enjoying a seven-game winning streak with the second-best record in the SEC.

So as far as Coach Cal is concerned, there is still plenty of time between now and the end of March Madness.