Preseason rankings continue to trickle out from the nation’s college basketball experts. This afternoon, Andy Katz released his Preseason Power 36 for NCAA.com and has Kentucky No. 1 based on depth and experience.
1. Kentucky: John Calipari has one of his deeper teams since he took over with returning experience in P.J. Washington, Nick Richards and Quade Green. The addition of Stanford transfer Reid Travis and a stud freshman class led by Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro make the ‘Cats one of the top teams to beat.
Kansas, Gonzaga, Duke, and North Carolina round out the top five. How brutal is the Cats’ schedule this year? In addition to playing three of the top five teams, they have to face the three other SEC teams in the rankings (7. Tennessee, 9. Auburn, 25. Mississippi State) twice. At his preseason roundtable, John Calipari called it his toughest schedule yet.
“What you didn’t know when you did it – some of the stuff, we’re locked into. But you didn’t know the league was going to take the top five teams and have you play them all twice. That’s what you didn’t know. Every team in our league, us and the other top five, we’re playing. I don’t know if the other teams are playing each other twice, I don’t think so, they can’t, but I know we are. So, when you take our non-conference schedule and then throw that schedule in, I don’t think we’ve played a tougher schedule since I’ve been here. So, again, it’s going to be thrown at these kids and I think they know it.”
Good thing this team thrives on competition.