Tonight, we’ll get to see both the Kentucky men’s and women’s teams in action for the first time. We’re used to John Calipari’s squad pulling in high rankings, but this could be the best women’s team in school history, led by unanimous Preseason All-American Rhyne Howard. ESPN’s basketball staff combined its preseason rankings for men’s and women’s teams at each school in the country, and Kentucky came in at No. 2, behind only Baylor, which has the No. 1 men’s team and No. 5 women’s squad.
Rankings: No. 5 (men), No. 11 (women)
Men: The Wildcats have as much talent as anyone in the country — but it’s mostly young talent, not that that’s anything new to John Calipari. He brings in the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, while also adding impact transfers Olivier Sarr (Wake Forest) and Davion Mintz (Creighton). They should have it humming in Lexington by the time the NCAA tournament rolls around. — Jeff Borzello
Women: Coach Matthew Mitchell’s abrupt retirement last week leaves a huge void in a program he led for 13 seasons. Having the nation’s best player in junior Rhyne Howard (23.4 PPG) will help interim head coach Kyra Elzy navigate the competitive SEC. — Charlie Creme
Pretty cool. Gonzaga, Oregon, and UCLA round out the top five. Louisville is No. 7, Tennessee No. 14, and LSU No. 15. To check out the entire list — which will be updated throughout the season — click the link below. Or just watch highlights from the men’s scrimmage in Rupp Arena last Sunday.