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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: AP Pre-Season Poll Edition

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Kentucky is ranked 2nd in the AP pre-season poll, but should they be?

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Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Quickies.

As you all know, the preseason basketball rankings came out yesterday, and the AP writers like Duke #1, Kentucky at #2, Kansas at #3 and Villanova at #4. I can’t find a single reason to object to those rankings generally, and even though none of us like to see Duke get ranked above UK, I think it’s justified on the overall strength of their returners versus what UK, for example, has coming back.

On the other hand, I think Duke gets more credit for their freshman class than is reasonably due. Two of their top recruits will miss time with injury, and while I’m sure both of them will take the court by the end of this year (and probably much sooner). The lost time will significantly impact their development and integration into the team.

Also, has a look at how the last eleven AP pre-season #1 teams have fared. It’s funny looking at 213-14 UK’s final ranking, seed, and ultimate result. Brings back lots of memories of cold-blooded Aaron Harrison threes. Let’s walk down Memory lane together, shall we?

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Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
Kentucky basketball
  • What we learned from Kentucky’s win over Clarion.

    Here’s what I learned:

    • We are much better than last year in almost every way;
    • If these players commit to defense, this could be a better defensive team than 2015;
    • Scoring is not going to be a problem. Fouls might be;
    • This team has better depth balance than 2015, although it isn’t quite as experienced;
    • This group is probably the most athletic team top to bottom that Kentucky has had in the Calipari era.
  • Kentucky’s freshmen are scary. Yes, they are.

  • John Calipari offers Canadian Shai Alexander, according to Ben Roberts. His ranking won’t impress you that much, but Calipari does not extend offers to players he doesn’t think can be great.

  • Jeff Goodman (formerly the Loathsome Troll) had this to say about Kentucky:

    Kentucky brings in a similar level of young talent, but the Wildcats don’t have a player of Allen’s caliber returning. Instead, John Calipari has Isaiah Briscoe and Derek Willis, a couple of nice players. Kansas has an experienced backcourt and added maybe the toughest frosh in the nation in wing Josh Jackson.

    Spare me. Kentucky has at least two players of Grayson Allen’s caliber returning (even if they are not scorers like Allen), and at least three players of equal or higher caliber coming in.

    I rarely expect much from Goodman, and he almost never manages to reach even that low bar.

Other Kentucky sports
College football
  • November is here. Now the college football season has really begun. Consider:

    November gives you no bargaining period.

    Your team is what it is, and there’s not much of a way to change it at this point.

    Bill Connelly, spot on as usual. As far as Kentucky is concerned, one of the reasons for our turnaround is that we have found out who we are, and we are sticking to that identity. Last season, I never thought the Wildcats found their identity, and it showed.

  • What is the right conversation for Tennessee after a horrible loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks (for their season, at least)? Will Shelton at Rocky Top Talk wrestles with the question. Consider:

    Beating Florida and Georgia in the same season for the first time since 2004 created a golden opportunity in the SEC East, a division the Vols haven’t won since 2007. It also created the opportunity for the kind of loss we haven’t seen since far before then - the "we have something to lose and lost it as a significant favorite" loss - and unfortunately the Vols chose door number two.

  • Speaking of the Vols, star running back Jalen Hurd has apparently informed Butch Jones he intends to transfer.

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