With the Harrison Twins, Dakari, Willie, Marcus, and Alex coming back, pretty much everyone considers UK the preseason number one. Except for The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy. DeCourcy released his presason Top 25 and has another set of Wildcats on top: Arizona. Kentucky comes in at number two, followed by Wisconsin, Duke, and North Carolina. Whaaaa?
DeCourcy argues that even though Arizona lost Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson to the NBA Draft, their big men and experienced guard play are enough to put them at the top of the rankings. What about our Cats? DeCourcy says UK has “overwhelming size and depth up front,” but Calipari will have a real battle on his hands trying to figure out how to play everyone. Weaknesses? Perimeter defense, which is bringing back some mean flashbacks to last season.
And while having a returning point guard for the first time in the Calipari era is exhilarating, DeCourcy says Alex Poythress is the team’s key factor:
Calipari must decide what he wants to do with junior Alex Poythress. Is he a small forward? There is a huge opportunity there, but Poythress has not shown he has the ability to drive the ball. Poythress is among Division I’s most dynamic players, but he seems best suited to performing as a stretch-4. It’s not as though UK is lacking for power forwards, though.
Check out all the rankings over at The Sporting News.