It’s never really too early to talk about next year, is it? ESPN’s Andy Katz doesn’t seem to think so. The Worldwide Leader’s college basketball talking head issued his extremely early top-25 rankings for next year and your beloved Wildcats came in at #13, three spots behind their SEC East buddies, the Florida Gators. Katz admits that it’s difficult to project this team and has this to say:
13. Kentucky: This could be a reach. I don’t dispute that argument. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton are all gone. You might be asking why I’m not punting Kentucky from my top 25 all together? Well, the recent history of UK and that of John Calipari at Memphis tells us not to assume demise when a reshuffling of talent occurs. Sure there is a talent drop off, but the return of key role players like Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins and a stellar recruiting class led by Brandon Knight, Enes Kanter (assuming he doesn’t run into a major suspension for amateur issues), Stacey Poole and Doron Lamb means the Cats will be able to compete with any team in the country. The newcomers don’t have as much star power as this past season’s freshman class, but the talent is still headline quality. Kanter is the key. If he is good to go by SEC play at the latest, Big Blue should be right in the thick of the race.
The list, which is topped by Duke and Purdue, has a bit of a football feel as the SEC East places four teams in the top-25 with Tennessee settling in behind Kentucky at #18 and Georgia — yes, Georgia — rounding out the list at #25.
*No word yet on how Andy Katz writing his top-25 has affected the local media.