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Kentucky ranked No. 12 in ESPN’s updated ‘Way-Too-Early” top 25

Even in a world where the thought of college basketball is up-in-the-air, it hasn’t stopped ESPN from getting off the takes.

In an updated version of his ‘Way-Too-Early’ top 25 rankings for the upcoming college basketball season, ESPN’s Jeff Borzello has the Kentucky Wildcats slotted as the 12th best team in the country, one spot lower than he had them in the previous ranking.

As with most rankings concerning the current version of John Calipari’s squad, they don’t mean much until a decision on Olivier Sarr has been made. Borzello even admitted in his blurb about Kentucky that, if Sarr gains immediate eligibility, the ‘Cats will be a “borderline top-five team” in the country.

Borzello put the Baylor Bears, who recently saw top guards Jared Butler and MaCio Teague announce plans to return to Waco, in the top spot, up two positions from their previous ranking. Right behind them are Villanova, Gonzaga, Virginia, and Iowa, in that order to round out the rest of the top five. Three fellow SEC schools, Tennessee (No. 10), LSU (No. 21), and Florida (No. 25) made the cut, as well.

Here’s what Borzello had to say about Kentucky.

In an unusual twist, Kentucky didn’t have much early-entry drama — but it was only because nearly every Wildcats player made his decision much earlier in the offseason. Only Keion Brooks returns from a year ago, but John Calipari added experience in the form of Creighton graduate transfer Davion Mintz — and potentially Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr. And it’s Sarr who holds the key to how good this team could be next season. The third-team All-ACC big man is hoping for a waiver to play right away, but no decision has been made by the NCAA yet. If he’s eligible, Kentucky is a borderline top-five team heading into the campaign. If not, there’s still plenty of talent. Five-star freshmen Devin Askew, B.J. Boston and Terrence Clarke are all likely to start, with Boston expected to make the biggest impact due to his high-level scoring ability. But there will be questions down low if Sarr isn’t eligible. Four-star Isaiah Jackson would be forced into a bigger role, and while he’s an elite defensive player, it might be premature for him to start from day one.

Borzello also added his projection for a starting lineup that I would assume most Kentucky fans agree with:

Devin Askew
B.J. Boston
Terrence Clarke
Keion Brooks
Isaiah Jackson

Outside of Jackson, who will assuredly be bumped off his starting spot for Sarr if he’s eligible, the top four appear to be the consensus starters as of right now. Things can obviously change–hopefully for the better, i.e. Sarr–but, as it currently stands, this is what Cal and his staff will likely run with.

What are your thoughts on the ranking? Fair or foul? Or does any of this even matter until a decision on Sarr is reached?


Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Covering all things NBA and UK Hoops. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR

5 Comments for Kentucky ranked No. 12 in ESPN’s updated ‘Way-Too-Early” top 25

  1. CJKAssassin123
    10:45 am August 15, 2020 Permalink

    From what I have been hearing over the last 36 hours or so it looks like UK is expecting to get notice that Sarr’s wavier request was denied by the NCAA. If this proves to be true than get used to the starting lineup mentioned in the article.

    • Richd23
      12:42 am August 16, 2020 Permalink

      Not from what i am hearing. Someone I know with a NCAA organization says the NCAA is approving players because of the covid issue. Plus Sarr would have went to NBA draft if his coach would have been let go earlier. We will soon know.

  2. mashman 93
    12:59 pm August 15, 2020 Permalink

    Free Sarr!!! GO BIG BLUE!!!!

  3. bgoad72
    5:28 pm August 15, 2020 Permalink

    They are approving many players this year that have lesser arguments than his. Don’t know why he would get denied

  4. BTIisGay
    10:48 pm August 15, 2020 Permalink

    Zack is the biggest soy boy in the bluegrass