John Calipari’s Wildcats did not qualify nor got an invite to play in the NCAA Tournament last year. Worse, Kentucky lost to Robert Morris in the opening round of the NIT back in 2012.
But how in Dick Vitale’s world did the Wildcats land in the No. 1 spot of the first Associated Press Top 25 college basketball poll after being unranked last season? Kentucky got 27 first-place votes from a 65-man national media panel. [sc:NCAAB240banner ]
The answer lies in Kentucky’s astounding recruitment job during the offseason.
Playing under Calipari’s tutelage this season was a bumper crop of outstanding talented freshmen, five of which are ranked in the top 10 of ESPN’s Top 100 prospects: #3 PF Julius Randle, #5 PG Andrew Harrison, #7 C Dakari Johnson, #8 SF James Young, and #9 SG Aaron Harrison (Andrew’s twin brother). If you include #25 PF Marcus Lee, that gives Kentucky six high school All-Americans.
With this groundbreaking haul, many basketball pundits went as far as to say that Kentucky’s incoming class is better than the fabled “Fab Five” of Michigan some twenty years ago. Although that remains to be proven, (Chris Weber and company went to the national finals in each of their first two years) Calipari’s crew not reaching the finals this season would be considered a big disappointment.
Coming in at No.2 on the poll is Michigan, followed by defending champs, Louisville. For the rest of the rankings as well as current NCAAB Futures odds, see the list below.
College Basketball AP Top 25 Preseason Rankings
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Do you think the freshmen-laden Kentucky Wildcats will get all the way to the NCAA National Championship next March and win the title? Bet now on the NCAA Basketball Tournament at Top Bet Sportsbook.
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