Kentucky entered Saturday ranked in both the AP and Coaches Polls, but it didn’t feel like the Wildcats were a legitimate top-25 team. After all, their previous best wins were over UNC Greensboro (ranked 93rd in KenPom) and Southern Illinois (ranked 132nd).
The Wildcats were also 0-2 away from Rupp Arena. All of this was a big reason why Kentucky has been unranked in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 for the last two weeks, while North Carolina was ranked No. 9.
So, after the Wildcats made easy work of the Tar Heels on Saturday, that led to Kentucky re-entering the CBS poll, checking in at No. 18, one spot ahead of North Carolina.
The Wildcats secured their first quality win of the season Saturday by beating North Carolina in Chicago. Next up is Saturday’s showdown with Louisville that’ll double as UK’s first road game.
While the Tar Heels still took a big step down to No. 19, they’re still ranked No. 7 in KenPom, Conversely, Kentucky is ranked No. 15 and didn’t really move much following Saturday’s big win.
As for who’s No. 1, you might be surprised to see it’s the Tennessee Volunteers getting the nod over the Duke Blue Devils. The Vols are 10-1 and are clearly one of the nation’s best teams. They also have a very manageable schedule coming up with no games against a current top-25 team until they play at Kentucky on Feb. 16.
This poll also has the Kansas Jayhawks checking in at No. 6, so Kentucky could end up with three more games against top-six teams between now and the end of the regular season.
In the end, all the matters right now is Kentucky got that much-needed win over North Carolina to change the tune of everyone.