With a little over two weeks until the college basketball season begins, these rankings are hardly “way-too-early” at this point.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Associated Press tabbed the Kentucky Women’s basketball team as the No. 10 ranked team in the country, and the fine folks over at ESPN aren’t far off from that preseason projection, either. The Worldwide Leader has the ‘Cats coming at No. 11 in their most recent “Way-Too-Early” Top 25. Fellow SEC schools South Carolina came in at No. 1 and No. 8 respectively, while in-state rival Louisville (who will not play UK this year) was listed at No. 4.
— Moving up: UConn, Louisville, NC State, Arizona
— Moving down: Baylor, Mississippi State
— Four Pac-12 teams in top 10https://t.co/0sVYC75UMr
— ESPN Women's Hoops (@ESPN_WomenHoop) November 9, 2020
Here’s what ESPN analyst Charlie Creme had to say about Matthew Mitchell’s crew:
Rhyne Howard (23.4 PPG, 6.5 RPG), the leading candidate for national player of the year, is now surrounded by the kind of talent that could challenge for an SEC title. Maryland transfer Olivia Owens, Utah transfer Dre’una Edwards, who was the 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and highly regarded 6-2 freshman wing Treasure Hunt help replace five seniors who departed. — Creme
Lindy’s Magazine also slotted Kentucky as the preseason No. 11 team in the country when they released its rankings back at the beginning of October. Rising-junior guard Rhyne Howard was named as one of the magazine’s First Team All-Americans.
ESPN last updated its “Way-Too-Early” rankings back in late September–when they were truly way-too-early rankings–and they had Kentucky at No. 11 then, as well. Since then, Kentucky has received an immediate eligibility waiver for 6-foot-4 center and former Maryland transfer, Olivia Owens. The program is still (as far as we know) awaiting the status of eligibility waivers for Jazmine Massengill (Tennessee) and Robyn Benton (Auburn), who could potentially boost this team into the top-5 were they able to play right away. Without them, Kentucky still figures to be a top-10 squad and the SEC’s third-best team.
Basketball in the Bluegrass has a chance to be something special this season…