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Sports Illustrated projects Kentucky to only lose two SEC games

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With the first weekend of college basketball only two weeks away, national publications continue to roll out their season previews. Today, let’s look at Sports Illustrated, who is using a fancy projection system to make their season predictions. Economist Dan Hanner collaborated with SI’s Luke Winn and Jeremy Fuchs to project teams on a player-by-player, lineup-based level and simulate the season 10,000 times to generate their 1—351 national rankings and conference forecasts. What did this complicated formula come up with for Kentucky this year? A 16-2 conference record and the SEC title. Here’s what SI’s Dan Green had to say.

“As usual, when it comes to pedigree, few can compare to Kentucky’s stable of studs. Among the Wildcats’ 11 scholarship players, only three were not top-60 RSCI recruits. One of those was senior forward Derek Willis, a three-star prospect who projects to repeat as Kentucky’s most efficient player this season in his limited offensive role. After ranking as the nation’s best in 2014—15, the Wildcats’ defense sagged to 32nd in efficiency last season. It projects to return to the top five this season, bringing the team’s title hopes with it.”

SI predicts Malik Monk will be the SEC Player and Newcomer of the Year. Monk and Bam Adebayo made SI’s All-SEC Team, while De’Aaron Fox was their selection for SEC Sixth Man. Check out the system’s projected stats for this season:

Name Class Pos. PPG RPG APG ORtg Volume Mins
Malik Monk Fr SG 16.0 2.1 2.5 117.1 25% 77%
De’Aaron Fox Fr PG 12.9 1.7 3.9 117.6 21% 77%
Bam Adebayo Fr C 12.5 6.9 0.8 116.3 24% 63%
Derek Willis Sr PF 11.1 6.3 0.7 125.6 16% 68%
Isaiah Briscoe So PG 10.9 5.1 3.3 109.1 20% 80%
Wenyen Gabriel Fr PF 7.2 4.7 0.6 110.3 20% 45%
Isaac Humphries So C 5.0 5.4 0.4 109.9 15% 50%

For more on SI’s College Basketball Projection System and the rest of their SEC preview, click the link below.

[Sports Illustrated SEC preview: Malik Monk should lead Kentucky to another league title]

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.