Where are the Cats ranked?
It is unfortunate that no trophy given for pre-season rankings. If there was, The University of Kentucky would have collected some serious hardware during the John Calipari era.
Once again the college basketball pre-season rankings are coming out way too early and are overwhelmingly positive for UK.I archived seven polls that have already been released from large sports media outlets, some as old as early April, all seven had Kentucky ranked at #7 or higher.
- SI.com – #5
- NBC Sports – #4
- CBS Sports – #4
- Bleacher Report – #4
- Sporting News – #3
- ESPN – #4
- USA Today – #7
These polls tell me that, just like years past, Kentucky has enough talent on the roster to be one of the best teams in the nation. Nothing ground breaking about that statement, it is what the Big Blue Nation expects.
Since John Calipari arrived in Lexington this form of hype and expectation has been the norm. Everyone around college basketball knows that a group of elite freshman will join UK’s team and the sky will be the limit.
P.J. Washington’s decision to return to Kentucky for his sophomore year was instrumental in cementing the Cats place as a top 5 pre-season team. There is no doubt about that.
These rankings have not even taken into consideration to possibility of adding Reid Travis as a graduate transfer.
On paper, the 2018-2019 team seems like it could make their identity on defense if they choose to do so. With so many big bodies and strength at every position it should be hard to score on UK.
In summary, it may take Kentucky a few months to find it’s groove but the pieces are all there.
This team has potential to be scary good.
The unknown scares me.
Besides P.J. Washington, Nick Richards, and Quade Green not one of UK’s players has seen any meaningful minutes at the division 1 level. As competitive as UK’s practices are sure to be, there is no way to simulate what these young players will face in game action.
Practice in the Joe Craft Center and playing against Duke at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse are two totally different things. It usually takes freshman, especially guards, a while to embrace the level of execution that is required to win.
I believe Kentucky will need someone to step up and become the go-to option on offense. If I had to guess, that guy is going to be Keldon Johnson.
Just like every year, the season in large part will be dependent on how good the freshman guards actually are and how long it takes them to get comfortable.
Let’s get #9!