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Can We Hope to be Preseason #1?

48% of Americans are jealous.

Now that Nerlens Noel’s letter of intent is officially in, the Cats  have a four-man recruiting class that’s being hailed as the nation’s best by every major recruiting site.  The great news, or terrible news if you’re any other school, is that it can only get better with the potential signings of Anthony Benntt, Amile Jefferson, Torian Graham, or one of the other talented-yet-uncommitted players.  I personally have the feeling that we signat least one more guy to give us a solid seven-man rotation come tourney time, and any of those three sound fine to me.  Right now though most of the attention seems to be on Bennett, a strong 4-man that plays something like Terrence Jones.

So say we sign Mr. Bennett… in addition to making us very happy, does that also make us the consensus preseason number one team in the country?

In Cal’s time here, he hasn’t started a season ranked number one.  Please don’t think for a second that I’m complaining; I’d rather be number one at the end of the year than at the beginning.  I just think that given the talent he’s had on his teams, it’s a pretty curious thing.  This year, though, of all years, could be the year that “streak” ends.  So who stands in the way of that obstacle?  Some familiar faces.

Indiana

The Hoosiers have a legitimate claim for the number one overall spot next year, and that has as much to do with Cody Zeller coming back as it does with the NCAA having an overall down year next year.  Remember, this time last year, elite players like Terrence Jones, Harrison Barnes, and Jared Sullinger were all deciding to come back.  This year, nobody has shocked fans by deciding to return.  I think the effect of the lockout was pretty apparent, and loaded college basketball with an exorbitant amount of talent last season.  Kentucky was at the top of that, but they weren’t alone.  Next year, though, there’s no such abundance of talent.  All those players that stayed last year are leaving, and many freshmen that just got to their schools are following their lead.  Not just our guys, but Austin Rivers, Andre Drummond, Bradley Beal… they’re all gone.  And schools like Indiana are the ones who will benefit.

Louisville

I actually would put Louisville above Indiana, if only because their style of play is less likely to be doomed by an “off-shooting” night.  Defense wins championships, and that’s all the Cards will do next year.  Seriously, they may average 5 3-point attempts a game, and that’s if Pitino’s feeling generous.  They’re more athletic than the Hoosiers, but maybe not as athletic as we’ll be.  Blackshear is particularly nasty.  The bottom line is, they’re almost this coming year what we were this past year: a Final Four team that only lost a couple guys, looking to go further in the tournament.  Only difference is we added an absolutely loaded recruiting class in between.  Still, it could be a tough out.

Kansas

This is sort of a long-shot, but I wanted to give them a mention because I do think they’ll be good next year.  If Bill Self can take last year’s Jayhawks to the title game, he can do it again with next year’s team.  Ultimately, no Thomas Robinson = not preaseason top 3.  But still good.

Kentucky

Ultimately, I think it comes down to this: sign Bennett, or maybe one of the other guys, and we start the season at number one.  Don’t sign him, and we’re at #3, behind #1 UofL and #2 IU.  It’s really that simple.  The great news is, Cal  and the Cats don’t need to start number one to have an easy path to get there.  If we keep the Indiana series, we’d just have to beat both of those teams in the non-conference schedule, as we should, and we’ll roll into SEC play with that “best-in-class” tag.

If that makes it sound easy, well… I’ve learned not to underestimate these Kentucky teams.  Unlike the 48% in the picture above.

Seriously, screw those guys.

Article written by Corey Nichols

38 Comments for Can We Hope to be Preseason #1?



  1. Bleeper
    9:03 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Kansas top 3 without T Robinson. Are you serious? Maybe top 25 at best.



  2. GoCats2
    9:11 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    I dont care where we are ranked before the season, only where we are ranked after the season.
    I love how the only state giving as much love as Kentucky is Nerlens home state! His entire family must have voted.



  3. RYNO
    9:15 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Preseason #1 is meaningless. Postseason #1 is all that matters. Since John Calipari has been at UK, his post-season rankings are as follows- #5 (lost in Elite 8), #3 (lost in Final 4), #1 (Duh.). I know Dino & Biancardi are convinced this team is going down in the second round or sweet 16 at best, but haven’t they caught on to the fact that Cal’s teams tend to improve at a quicker rate than most teams? They both agreed that the talent on this team is way down, so I guess the teams with recruiting classes ranked 2-300 are in real trouble.

  4. 20 states = smart
    30 states = dumb

    I think I counted that right (those small states are microscopic).



  5. Josh
    9:16 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    STOP CITING MORONIC AND UNINFORMED espn ARTICLES AND POLLS!!!!



  6. RYNO
    9:16 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    4) Don’t forget the Earth’s vote!!



  7. the ghost of Bill Hicks
    9:19 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    We should only care about the last ranking of the season.



  8. REAL BLY
    9:29 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    We could be ranked #1 in the Galaxt and we’d still get bashed by moronic analysts like Boob Knight, Smug Snottlieb, Seth Davis and my favorite assbag Digger Phelps!!!!



  9. REAL BLY
    9:30 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Galaxt….Galaxy….whatever…



  10. SteelDirigible
    9:31 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    command, shift, 4 for a custom size screen shot dude. fyi.
    command, shift 3 grabs the whole enchilada.



  11. Rock Slyde
    9:33 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Corey, have you heard from Nickelodeon yet?



  12. tltaworl
    9:34 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Who cares who is #1 in the Preseason?



  13. Real UK Fan
    9:34 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    I suspect UK will start out at number 1 or 2 but the really interesting rankings come after that. People don’t seem to fully appreciate just how bad college basketball is going to be next season. After the top 3 it drops off drastically and after the top 10 or so the is really nothing left.



  14. milescat
    9:39 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Just to answer the question, I think IU or UL need to be ranked ahead of us, no matter who else we sign. I am fine with a top 5 ranking. Those other two teams are more proven and hopefully it adds a little extra motivation to the young Cats. I am not saying IU or UL are better, but let them have it.



  15. Laker Cat 18
    9:42 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    12. Indiana does. It’s the only time they’ll see it. I have family there and I’ve heard it all since December. Thank the Lord above that we beat them in the tourney. That shut them back up for another decade or so.



  16. Will Totten
    9:43 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Go check out my article on KSRCollege.com that’s up now to get even more excited about next season!



  17. Jess
    9:44 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    It’s not where you start its where you finish!!! Were #1!!!



  18. the yo
    9:46 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    weak nichols, or captain obvious?

    looking forward to how good cats will be come tourney time next season…little nervous IU might be first home loss for Cal tho



  19. RYNO
    9:49 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    18) You worry too much. Have you seen IU’s record outside of Assembly Hall against above average/good teams in the past decade?? They’re batting .000. Factor in Cal’s batting 1.000 inside Rupp, should be a good game, but not a win for IU (if they even play next year.).



  20. Bradley
    9:55 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    5 3 point attempts per game? LOL. Was that a joke? Wowsers.



  21. Paducah UK fan
    10:00 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Keep up the fun articles Corkley, better to read BS basketball article and bypass the football stuff. Start a count down until midnight madness. That is when the fun really starts. I am OK with Cal doing the recruiting, he seems to do an ok job.



  22. Paducah UK fan
    10:00 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Or is it Corlesis?



  23. MS_Cat_Fan
    10:10 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    The lack of pre-season #1 ranking for the KY teams under Coach Cal is because of the “youth.” Not many are willing to rank a talented yet un-tested young team full of freshman #1 at the beginning of the season. This will also be the case for 2012-13 although the past 2 teams have ascended to a #1 ranking during the season. But, as others have noted, who cares as long as the Cats are #1 at the end of the season!!



  24. JTA
    10:17 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    We’ve been ranked the entire time Cal has been here, right?

    I know Jones’ and Lambs’ first year we were really close to the bottom because we lost so many road games and might have dropped out….but I think the lowest we got was 23rd.



  25. john4uk
    10:23 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    How could the cards not be #1?After all,they have the worlds greatest Coach in Quickie Rick,that all time primetime point guard Peyton Siva,that shot blocking rebound machine Deng,and Blackshear.And then IU,with Coaching genius Crean and their 4 year man Zeller along with those long range bombers,they may challenge Quickie for #1.Don’t forget that basketball machine in Durham,NC.Duke,with the return of the Plumlee brothers,their wizard Coach K,and their bomber of threes Curry,they could be challenging Quick Rick.Maybe the Cats should be preseason 6th thru tenth.



  26. Dipstick Freemont
    10:24 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    I knew D.B. Franklin didn’t pen, or should I say punch, this post.



  27. Jimmy
    10:26 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Love that ARK & New Hampshire are with us. They know what’s about to happen.



  28. Sully
    10:57 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Man, what are you guys thinking? You really want this young team to start out at number one in the nation? They’re going to take some lumps, with very little veteran leadership or experience. Wouldn’t want to play them in March, but number one in November? No thanks.



  29. the yo
    11:11 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    19 – good point.

    not that i’m worried, it’s only April, that would be pointless. gotta happen sooner or later tho, right? but maybe not. what’s the record for consecutive home wins anyway?



  30. DB
    11:42 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Is it just me or do those 2 percentages add up to 110%. Cant see it that well



  31. NotSatire
    11:55 am April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Look at Oregon and Alaska…way beyond cool…:)



  32. Robbie
    12:01 pm April 20, 2012 Permalink

    ucla will be decent next year. don’t sleep on em



  33. I Say
    12:03 pm April 20, 2012 Permalink

    It would be great to start the season off #1 but it creates an even bigger target on our back than the defending champs always have anyways. O’well I say bring it. Gonna be some great non-conference games next year.



  34. Billy G
    12:59 pm April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Try using “Command+Shift+4” next time you screenshot. You can crop out the portion you want to show instead of showing us your computer has about an hour and a half of battery life and you took the photo t 8:26 AM! Yes, on a MAC!



  35. snoopaloop
    2:06 pm April 20, 2012 Permalink

    IU being ranked preseason #1 is a testament to how weak college basketball will be next season. We get it, they are returning their starting five. You know, the same starting five that lost perennial powerhouses such as Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota.



  36. coleman gaines
    2:08 pm April 20, 2012 Permalink

    29– I believe it is 129 held by UK 1948 – 1951 or 1952.



  37. dude
    2:49 pm April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Looks like Missouri and Texas haven’t learned, yet.



  38. UKGrad04
    4:15 pm April 20, 2012 Permalink

    I like how Alaska’s on board, but Hawaii’s not.