As many as seven Wildcats could bolt for the NBA and there’s no guarantee Calipari will land any more five-star recruits (although he likely will), but Kentucky is still No. 1 heading into next season, according to ESPN.
Never mind the mass exodus and recruiting unknowns, UK is the No. 1 team in the new “Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2015-16” on ESPN.com.
Here’s an excerpt from the explanation of the Cats’ ranking:
Call this the benefit of the doubt. We know Kentucky will be good. We’re not quite sure how good. But if recent history is any indication, they will deserve to start the season with a No. 1 ranking, almost by default, almost regardless of how many of the current Wildcats declare for the NBA draft in the coming days.
Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa State and Maryland round out the top five. National champion Duke ranks No. 11 while Louisville gets a generous spot at No. 19.