The Kentucky men’s basketball program is expected to enter the 2022-23 season as a top-five team in the country — and the roster might not even be complete yet.
On Tuesday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Borzello revised his “Way-Too-Early” Top 25 rankings where most of the top teams remained in the same position they were in from last month’s update. Kentucky remained at No. 4 in the rankings, coming in behind North Carolina, Gonzaga, and Houston, respectively. Duke checks in at No. 5 to round up the top five.
With the Big Blue Bahamas Tour just a couple of weeks away, Kentucky could be on the verge of adding another piece to the upcoming roster, which could give the ‘Cats a boost in the preseason rankings down the road. 6-foot-11 center Ugonna Kingsley has recently reclassified to the class of 2022 and will make his decision on August 1 with all signs pointing towards UK.
Here’s what Borzello wrote about the Wildcats.
Will Kentucky be more of a threat from the perimeter this season? The Wildcats were one of the least 3-point-reliant teams in the country last season, ranking No. 351 out of 358 teams in 3-point attempt rate at KenPom.com. That’s the fourth time in the past five years Kentucky has ranked in the bottom 15 nationally in that category; in fact, the Wildcats have ranked in the bottom 75 nationally in 3-point attempt rate each of the past 11 seasons. Improving the outside shooting would space the floor better for John Calipari’s guards. Sahvir Wheeler isn’t a good 3-point shooter, but former Iowa transfer CJ Fredrick is one of the best shooters in the country, Illinois State transfer Antonio Reeves shot 39% from 3 last season and freshmen Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston are capable outside shooters.
Projected starting lineup:
Sahvir Wheeler (10.1 PPG)Jeff Borzello, ESPN
Cason Wallace (No. 20 in ESPN 100)
Antonio Reeves (20.1 PPG at Illinois State)
Chris Livingston (No. 12 in ESPN 100)
Oscar Tshiebwe (17.4 PPG)
The only movement within the top 10 was Arkansas jumping to No. 9 over UCLA, which was bumped down one spot to No. 10. Joining UK and Arkansas among SEC teams in the Top 25 are Tennessee (No. 12), Auburn (No. 13), and Alabama (No. 20).