ESPN’s Jeff Borzello updated his Way-Too-Early Top 25 this morning and despite the uncertainty around Olivier Sarr’s eligibility, Kentucky moved up. The Cats climbed from No. 13 to No. 11, with room to grow should the NCAA grant Sarr’s waiver to play this season.
11. Kentucky Wildcats
There’s no word yet on Olivier Sarr’s availability for next season, which leaves a lot of questions for Kentucky’s frontcourt. The perimeter is going to be absolutely loaded, with three five-star prospects combining with Creighton graduate transfer Davion Mintz and a couple of former ESPN 100 prospects. But the frontcourt is incomplete at best. Keion Brooks will be counted on for a breakout season after playing maybe his best game of the season in the finale against Florida. But as the only returnee on the roster, he will also need to provide leadership. Besides Brooks, John Calipari has top-50 freshmen Lance Ware and Isaiah Jackson up front. It’s hard to say that either player is ready to start immediately down low, but Jackson is an elite defensive player, and Ware brings toughness. A smaller lineup with Clarke or Boston in a small-ball 4 role seems unlikely. The Wildcats need Sarr.
As of now (so, assuming Sarr is a no-go), Borzello projects Kentucky’s starting lineup to be Devin Askew, BJ Boston, Terrence Clarke, Keion Brooks, and Isaiah Jackson.
Gonzaga is No. 1 in the rankings, followed by Villanova and Baylor. Kansas is No. 7, Michigan State No. 8, Duke No. 9, and Tennessee No. 10. Florida and Arkansas come in at No. 24 and No. 25 respectively, while Louisville is the fourth team listed in the “Next in line” category.