Fresh off his final cancer treatment, Dick Vitale is ready to get back to college basketball. This afternoon, Vitale released his “Elite Eight” rankings for the 2022-23 college basketball season. Despite the uncertainty regarding next year’s roster, Dickie V ranks Kentucky third behind North Carolina and Houston, contingent on Oscar Tshiebwe returning for a senior season.
If Wooden Award winner Oscar Tshiebwe returns, the Wildcats will have a major force up front. Another veteran expected to return is guard Sahvir Wheeler, one of the top passers in America. Yes the Cats lost TyTy Washington Jr. and Keion Brooks Jr. to the NBA draft, but John Calipari will reload with premier diaper dandies. Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston, a pair of top-15 recruits, will be names of note that Big Blue Nation celebrates.
To be clear, Brooks is only testing the NBA Draft waters currently and could return to school, but you have to love Vitale’s optimism. After seeing clips of Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston in the Jordan Brand Classic this weekend, they do appear to have diaper-dandy potential. Right behind the Cats in Dickie V’s rankings is Arkansas, followed by Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas, and Creighton.
Where Kentucky stands in preseason rankings
Kentucky’s No. 3 spot in Vitale’s preseason rankings is in line with most of the other lists we’ve seen so far. In fact, the only major national writer that doesn’t have Kentucky in his top three is ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, who ranks the Cats No. 7; however, that was written under the assumption that Oscar Tshiebwe and Shaedon Sharpe both go to the NBA. While neither player has announced their decision yet, there is growing optimism that Oscar will return for a senior season.
Here’s where the Cats stand in various Preseason/Way-Too-Early Top 25s: