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NBC ranks UK in their preseason top 5, along with an early prediction on the starting lineup

The college basketball season just recently ended, which means it’s time for everyone to give their WAY-too-early preseason rankings for the 2019-20 season.

The Kentucky Wildcats have already lost PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro to the NBA Draft. They also lost Reid Travis due to graduation. That’s four of the five starters from this year’s team. Oh, and Jemarl Baker is transferring out of the program.

However, we do know that Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley are both returning to Lexington for their sophomore seasons. We also know that Coach Cal is bringing in another haul from the recruiting trail with five-stars Kahlil Whitney, Tyrese Maxey and Keion Brooks, as well as four-star and Kentucky native Dontaie Allen. Last, but certainly not least, UK is also adding Bucknell grad transfer Nate Sestina.

EJ Montgomery has declared for the NBA Draft with the intention of keeping his name in only if he’s a first round pick. That seems extremely unlikely at this point, but stranger things have happened. We’ve also yet to hear a decision on whether or not we’ll see Junior Nick Richards.

So, Kentucky is going to be loaded with talent again next season, but there are some obvious holes and a lot of questions yet to be answered. Regardless, Rob Dauster from NBC Sports took a stab at ranking the teams for next season. And he was high on the Cats.

Kentucky comes in at No. 3, per the course of preseason college basketball rankings. Also, Dauster predicts that next year’s starting lineup will be Tyrese Maxey, Ashton Hagans, Kahlil Whitney, Keion Brooks, and EJ Montgomery. He predicted that Richards would be back as well.

Michigan State and Michigan were the only two teams who came in ahead of UK. The reigning national champion Virginia Cavaliers came in at No. 5 and Louisville actually cracked the top 1o at No. 8. Duke was ranked No. 7, while the SEC only had two other teams that cracked the list with Auburn and Tennessee coming in at Nos. 21 and 22, respectively.

Obviously, it’s way too early to know what half of these rosters will even look like for next season, much less rank the teams. But it’s always fun to imagine what we have to look forward to next year.

You can see the full rankings here.

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Article written by Nick Wheatley

12 Comments for NBC ranks UK in their preseason top 5, along with an early prediction on the starting lineup

  1. UKDemarcusWall
    8:41 pm April 21, 2019 Permalink

    Who else can’t wait to start ranked in top 5 then fall to the 20s then fight our way back to maybe top 10 then lose in the second weekend of the tourney?

    • Ez21
      8:55 pm April 21, 2019 Permalink

      Who else can’t wait to get up in the morning, look at their phone and bitch at stuff before heading off to their minimum wage job so they can bitch some more. ?

    • nocode96
      9:30 pm April 21, 2019 Permalink

      Hey there milkdik, there’s lots of other teams you can go root for, we won’t miss you in the slightest.

  2. Cokely53
    8:44 pm April 21, 2019 Permalink

    I know this is extremely unlikely but if we landed both RJ and Blackshear I would put us at 1 going into next year. But with the current roster I think 3 might be a bit high, especially early in the season. This team isn’t deep or talented enough to be top 3 yet. I buy the hype on Maxey but I’m hesitant with Whitney and Brooks.

    • ibescootch
      11:42 pm April 21, 2019 Permalink

      I was iffy on Maxey and Brooks until I watched the Jordan game. Maxey has a really similar game to Fox in many ways. He’s a decent size, strong PG who goes at people. He seems longer than 6’ 2”. Brooks was great posting up around 15 ft and going to work. He’ll be a force. He’s got a great motor and can jump out of the gym. Whitney really disappeared sometimes, and I didn’t really come away with any opinion of him, good or bad.

  3. Cannon717
    11:51 pm April 21, 2019 Permalink

    Annnnnd we open up with Michigan State ??????

    • VirginiaCat
      12:17 am April 22, 2019 Permalink

      Oh, that’s right, we open against Michigan State. Hope it isn’t a repeat of our first game against Duke. At the risk of incurring an avalanche of snarky comments, I tend to agree with UKDemarcusWall. Our recent pattern is to start the year highly ranked, and then slide because we are young and everyone’s super bowl. We improve, move up in the rankings, and then lose to an less talented team a game or two shy of the Final Four. Cal takes responsibility, saying that he was out coached. We then lose a bunch of freshmen who were just beginning to show their potential, and start the cycle anew. Hopefully it will be different next season.

  4. CahillsCrossingNT
    6:06 am April 22, 2019 Permalink

    This is stupid. They don’t even know what the roster will look like yet. In fact, there shouldn’t be polls at all until New Year’s Day.

  5. speaksthetruth
    7:08 am April 22, 2019 Permalink

    How are we ranked above Duke when according to a lot of people on here, K has got every single recruit Cal wanted, he has veterans too, and he is the better coach?

    • 4everUKblue
      7:34 am April 22, 2019 Permalink

      And yet K only escaped the sweet 16 with the help of the refs, but that’s a common storyline with dUKe.

    • kenny
      8:20 am April 22, 2019 Permalink

      They give KY lofty ranking every year. If they don’t live up to it, so called pundits can talk about how bad Cal is.

  6. Larkin123
    10:59 am April 22, 2019 Permalink

    We don’t finish in the top three anymore but we start there