We have just lived through one of the golden eras in (state of) Kentucky college basketball history.
The Kentucky Wildcats have played in four men's Final Fours in five years and claimed a national title.
Louisville has made two Final Fours in the past four years and claimed a national title.
Since 2008, Western Kentucky (three), Morehead State (two) and Murray State (two) have all won NCAA Tournament games, and Eastern Kentucky threw a scare into Kansas in a Dance contest, too.
In women's basketball, Louisville has advanced to two NCAA title games since 2009.
Kentucky has played in three Elite Eights since 2010.
However, the coming college hoops season in Kentucky looks like a year of transition more so than a state-wide continuation of the good times. That does not mean it will be anything less than interesting.
Here are 10 top storylines to watch in Kentucky college basketball 2015-16.
10. Labissiere fills big shoes. For all the attention the John Calipari line of point guards gets, the UK coach's tree of big men has been impeccable — think DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, Willie Cauley-Stein, Karl-Anthony Towns (and Josh Harrellson wasn't half bad, either).
Next up is Skal Labissiere, a willowy 6-foot-11, 216-pound survivor of the 2010 Haitian earthquake. By reputation, Labissiere is said to be remarkably skilled offensively for a young big man. With UK having sent four front-court players into the 2015 NBA Draft, the Cats need Labissiere to live up to that reputation.
9. Asia is the one? Louisville women's basketball coach Jeff Walz has never before signed a high school prospect ranked as high as Asia Durr.
Rated as either the No. 1 or No. 2 prospect in the 2015 women's college hoops recruiting class, Durr is a dynamic 5-11 left-handed guard who ESPN analysts call "the complete package." Louisville backers hope Durr is the player that allows their program to win it all.
8. The new guys. Murray State head man Steve Prohm turned his 104-29 record in four seasons into a very good job — head man at Iowa State (115-56 the past five seasons). Eastern Kentucky head man Jeff Neubauer turned his 2007 and 2014 NCAA trips into a very challenging job — head man at Fordham (44-106 the past five years).
Stepping in at Murray State is former Prohm assistant, Matt McMahon. At EKU, ex-UK student manager and former Louisville aide Dan McHale is the new man. Meanwhile, John Brannen, the ex-Alabama and EKU assistant, has been hired as the new head man at Northern Kentucky.
7. Ulis is UK's man 'left behind.' Of the 2014 recruiting class for the Kentucky men, Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker are already in the NBA. The only member of the four-man class remaining in Lexington is Tyler Ulis, the fiery, 5-9 point guard.
The good news for Kentucky is that, in college basketball, a tough-minded point guard with a knack for hitting big shots might be the most valuable commodity a team can have. Ulis is all of that.
6. Continuing an Epps family tradition? As a sophomore last season for the UK women, Makayla Epps emerged as the kind of guard who can carry a team to the Final Four. However, an off-the-court incident involving alcohol in her hometown of Lebanon over the summer led to Matthew Mitchell imposing early-season discipline (will miss season opener with Rice) on Epps.
Once she's back in good standing with her coach, the ex-Marion County star might do for the UK women what her father, Anthony, did for the 1996 and 1997 Kentucky men: Provide the kind of guard play that leads to the Final Four.
5. Louisville's 'one-and-dones.' After losing core players Montrezl Harrell, Terry Rozier and Wayne Blackshear off last season's Elite Eight team and looking at an underwhelming returning cast, Rick Pitino looked for a way to avert the dreaded "rebuilding season." So Pitino brought on a pair of talented fifth-year transfers — players eligible to switch schools and play immediately because they've earned their college degrees.
Damion Lee, a 6-6 swingman, was the nation's fourth-leading scorer (21.4 ppg) last season for Drexel. Trey Lewis, a 6-2 guard, hit 96 three-pointers last season while averaging 16.3 ppg for Cleveland State. Can they "step up in class" to the ACC and allow U of L not to slip dramatically back?
4. An 'Unforgettable' breakthrough? Former Kentucky point guard Sean Woods has been solid (52-49 overall, 28-20 in OVC regular-season games) in his three prior seasons as Morehead State head coach. However, MSU got a taste for NCAA Tournament games during the Kenneth Faried era.
Can Woods lead MSU back to the promised land? With seven junior-college transfers augmenting a veteran core that includes senior guard Brent Arrington, Morehead has a chance to be the main threat to prohibitive OVC favorite Belmont.
3. Evelyn to the promised land? Even as the Kentucky women have knocked on the door (three Elite Eights) of the Final Four these past six seasons, the general consensus has been that Matthew Mitchell's Cats have usually been one player — an elite post presence — from breaking through.
Enter Evelyn Akhator. The national junior college player of the year last season, the 6-3 Akhator averaged 21.2 ppg, 16.7 rpg, 3.1 steals and 2.9 blocks while leading Chipola (Fla.) Community College to the national title. After turning down Tennessee, Florida State and South Carolina, Akhator appears to be exactly what the Wildcats need.
2. UK 2016 = Duke 2015? Last year, Duke rode a team built around a talented freshman big man (Jahlil Okafor) and some dynamic perimeter players (Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones, Quinn Cook, Grayson Allen) to the national title.
This coming season, Kentucky appears to have a team that will feature a talented freshman big man (Skal Labissiere) and some dynamic perimeter players (Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray, Isaiah Briscoe). Can UK do in 2016 what Coach K did in 2015?
1. Rick Pitino. The one thing the Louisville basketball coach needed even less than another NCAA Tournament loss to Kentucky is another sex scandal. Yet Katina Powell's accusations that a former Pitino aide paid thousands of dollars so escorts would dance for and have sex with U of L players and recruits in the Cardinals basketball dorm has rocked Louisville sports.
Pitino has already proclaimed he will not resign. So unless something changes, THE major storyline this coming season in Kentucky college basketball will be whether Pitino — who kept his job in 2009 after a personal sex scandal became public — can survive again.