With the 2020-21 season officially over, Way-Too-Early Top 25 season is upon us. Earlier today, Aaron Torres shared his take on the top teams in college basketball heading into next season, with Kentucky coming in at No. 18. ESPN’s Jeff Borzello has the Cats in a similar spot, No. 19, despite all of the uncertainty with the roster.
“Here’s the second team I really have no idea where to rank; I just assume John Calipari can’t have a second dreadful season in a row. But they went 9-16 this past season and have already seen B.J. Boston, Isaiah Jackson and Terrence Clarke declare for the NBA draft (although Jackson made it clear he’s leaving the door open for a return to Lexington), while freshmen Devin Askew and Cam’ron Fletcher entered the transfer portal. It’s unclear what will happen with seniors Olivier Sarr and Davion Mintz, but Mintz has spoken about potentially returning. For now, we’ll assume both leave.
Calipari reloading in the spring is nothing new, and I don’t think Davidson transfer Kellan Grady will be the final addition to the roster. Grady and Oscar Tshiebwe should add some shooting and toughness, respectively, next season. Five-star Daimion Collins will be an impact player down low. Two big keys will be improved point guard play — whether from incoming freshman Nolan Hickman or someone from the portal — and more consistent outside shooting; will Dontaie Allen see a bigger role?”
Borzello’s projected starting lineup: Nolan Hickman, Kellan Grady, Dontaie Allen, Keion Brooks, and Oscar Tshiebwe. As the roster continues to take shape over the coming weeks, that will almost certainly change.
The top five teams heading into next season in Borzello’s rankings: 1. Gonzaga, 2. UCLA (depending on if Johnny Juzang goes pro), 3. Purdue, 4. Ohio State, and 5. Kansas. From the SEC, Alabama is No. 8, Arkansas No. 12. Check the rest out for yourself at the link below, along with a video breakdown from Borzello, which includes his thoughts on whether or not Kentucky and Duke can bounce back.