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Cats #4 in SI’s Power Rankings

Despite losing their entire starting lineup to the NBA Draft, the Cats come in at #4 in Sports Illustrated’s 2012-2013 Power Rankings. Luke Winn writes that Ryan Harrow’s development will be key to Kentucky’s success, as will Kyle Wiltjer’s “pick and pop” play:

That’s “stretch” power forward Kyle Wiltjer, the one returnee from last season’s rotation, running a simple pick-and-pop play with Marquis Teague. Wiltjer was on the court for just 11.6 minutes per game as a freshman, but in that time, he had a higher shots-taken percentage (25.0) than any other Wildcat. That’s a wild stat on team loaded with NBA-bound star power, and it suggests that Wiltjer could be their leading scorer as a sophomore. He’s hard-wired to put up shots.

That’s some high praise for Big Wiltj, but I absolutely agree. Towards the end of the season, Wiltjer seemed to find his groove, and now that he’s able to step in the spotlight, I fully expect him to shine (if he puts in some major time in the weight room this summer, he’ll be luminous).

Because I know you’re curious, here’s the rest of Winn’s top ten:

1. Indiana
2. Louisville
3. UCLA
4. Kentucky
5. N.C. State
6. Florida
7. Ohio State
8. Kansas
9. Michigan
10. Missouri

Now, obviously there are still several cards to be dealt. Where Anthony Bennett lands will have a huge impact on both Kentucky and Florida’s position, not to mention Amile Jefferson, Montrezl Harrell, Torian Graham, and several potential transfers. Although they have been ranked higher in several other preseason polls, I think fourth is pretty fair considering the remaining uncertainty about next year’s roster. What do you make of the rankings? Is UCLA too high?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

28 Comments for Cats #4 in SI’s Power Rankings



  1. Mr Obvious
    11:21 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    UCLA really isn’t too high. Their recruiting class is every bit as good as ours for next year. I think the acquisition of Bennett should bump us up. I like seeing three SEC teams in the Top 10. Let’s hope the rest of the conference can pull their weight next year.



  2. Mkgistebow
    11:21 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    Ucla ranked that hi in the preseason is a joke. They have a hi ceiling but it will take time and a lot of lumps to reach it. Howland is no calipari.



  3. minton
    11:22 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    I think it’s too early to make any rankings but I love the fact that UK, IU, UofL and UCLA are at the top. Just like the good ‘ol days.



  4. thegoosewasgolden
    11:24 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    agree – #4 is more realistic at this point than #1, #2 or #3.



  5. Hoss_Cat
    11:25 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    LOL at UCLA even being ranked. They suck



  6. Cat Lady
    11:25 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    Hate being behind IU and especially UL, but I feel assured that UK will be above those two at season’ end!



  7. BUCats
    11:27 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    UCLA will implode. They still have bad eggs on the team (Josh Smith) and a culture of not being disciplined. They will be the failed model of what UK has done with talented Freshmen. I am predicting a second round exit.



  8. Mkgistebow
    11:30 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    And it’s nice that we have a west coast presence this year but in all honesty ucla will never be what it once was. Lackluster fan support in a Hollywood, pro-crazed town. On a side note we should be ranked 3rd because we are the defending champions w/ a possible 4th str8 #1 recruiting class and the field is considerably weaker than it was last yr. all the pros declared as opposed to last yr when a bunch of pros decided to come back and compete for a title(it makes our dominant championship run that much more remarkable). Ucla has no right to trump us, si did this to make headlines. When the Vegas pre season odds comeback I will venture to say we will be 1 or 2;)



  9. Bsb Coach
    11:31 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    We are probably too high (at least at the start) but UCLA is definitely too high. They too have a lot of good prospects coming. What they don’t have is a coach like Cal. It’s one thing to recruit great players, it’s another to develop a great team. Hasn’t Howland had great players there before? (Wear Bros. et al?) They need to win some good games before they are given any serious consideration.



  10. Mkgistebow
    11:31 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    *come out



  11. Duuuuuude
    11:31 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    WOW! Only one ACC school, and it is the red headed step child in North Carolina! It looks very odd.



  12. bmt22033
    11:40 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    As of yesterday, Scout.com was reporting that Anthony Bennett is still not qualified. You’ll need a subscription to read it, but here’s the link:

    http://scouthoops.scout.com/2/1183407.html



  13. T-Rex
    11:47 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    Like this means anything… but it’s still interesting a team that didn’t even make the tournament this year, and has a heralded class coming in yet a class that is still ranked behind UK’s, is one spot higher.

    I honestly think we’re overrated at 4 (without any more signees at this point), which means UCLA is unequivocally, assuredly overrated.



  14. Wooden isnt walking through that door...
    11:51 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    UCLA was atrocious last year, having a #1 recruiting class doesn’t instantly make you top 5. Depends on the coach or in this case, the lack thereof…



  15. theWilkman
    11:54 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    I said the same thing about Wiltjer halfway through last season. I expect him to contend for the SEC scoring title. You can’t stop that trey



  16. Awat
    11:54 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    I like that ranking but I feel this group will have to prove themselves. Kind of like a couple of years ago with Brandon Knight and company, may not be the best during the regular season but Cal will have them hitting on all cylinders come tournament time. I’m still worried about a significant scoring threat. Going to need that go to guy.



  17. Twitter Account Denied
    11:56 am May 4, 2012 Permalink

    #3, #4, #5? Who cares right now? As long as we are #1 when it counts…. next April.



  18. Big Blue 66
    12:14 pm May 4, 2012 Permalink

    UK should be about 6-8 UCLA should be 8-12 I dont get UL either, maybe tope 10, i think they will be good, but everyone just forgot about mid way in conference when they were about to fire Ricky and jump from bridges. UL season depends on Blacksheer.



  19. Kirbdaddy
    12:22 pm May 4, 2012 Permalink

    UCLA #3??????

    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

    Does SI realize that Ben Howland is still UCLA’s coach?



  20. 2kuk
    12:28 pm May 4, 2012 Permalink

    I think UCLA is too high, but at this point I don’t know who to put up there. Going into last year it was clear that UNC and UK were 1-2 in some order. With Ohio State and Syracuse close behind. I don’t see any great teams going into next year. You can say someone is too high, but anyone you place above them could have an arguement made against them.

    That said I expect UCLA to be fascinating because I don’t think Howland can manage it.



  21. Catman
    1:11 pm May 4, 2012 Permalink

    You want to know the best thing about Wiltjer’s shot? It goes in everytime. HAHAHAHA. Hoosiers got sent to the house baby!!!!!!!! Just can’t win away from assembly hall.



  22. DerbyDemon
    1:15 pm May 4, 2012 Permalink

    I’m surprised that Missouri is ranked #10. They lost just about everybody from their team. I know Oriaki (sp?) is good, but he ain’t THAT good.



  23. I Say
    1:19 pm May 4, 2012 Permalink

    UCLA is a top 10 team but not number 3, they werent even ranked last year.



  24. snoopaloop
    1:21 pm May 4, 2012 Permalink

    I thought being ranked period would have been generous for UCLA, but #3??? That is a joke.



  25. jpgott2
    1:53 pm May 4, 2012 Permalink

    My problem with UCLA is that just because Cal has had success with 1-and-dones, does not mean everyone else will. Cal has been doing this for some time, and has gotten it down to a science. Ben Howland on the other hand, has struggled the last 6 seasons, and actually had one of his worst seasons last year, in which the team fell apart because of egos! This team will have loads of talent, but it will still have to mesh.

    The question is, is Howland up to the challenge?



  26. Calsdaman
    2:37 pm May 4, 2012 Permalink

    Can’t be right. 3 SEC teams. 1 Big East? Shouldn’t ALL 10 be Big east teams? After all they claim to be the greatest? Maybe they all are Big East teams..the conference changes every week.



  27. Terry
    3:19 pm May 4, 2012 Permalink

    UCLA? WHy? Cause they got Muhamad who won’t be playing? I wonder if SI is owned by espn? This is the joke of the day & shoulda been posted in the not Jerry Tipton section!!



  28. Terry
    3:23 pm May 4, 2012 Permalink

    Catman is very correct..specially the Wiljcher comment…love it #21..Catman 🙂