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UK Basketball: Wildcats rank seventh in Andy Katz’s top 36

Katz sees Kentucky as a top-10 team next year.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Davidson vs Kentucky Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports correspondent Andy Katz released his top 36 teams in the country for the 2018-19 season (because I guess a top 25 is just too mainstream now) and Kentucky ranked seventh.

Here’s what Katz had to say about the Cats.

The Wildcats will be just as loaded and they get an experienced forward back in P.J. Washington. They can also lean on Quade Green and Nick Richards, too. If Reid Travis were to end up here then the Wildcats would certainly leap ahead. Keldon Johnson, E.J. Montgomery and Immanuel Quickley will be the latest star newcomers who will have their moments to shine. The loss to Kansas State in the Sweet 16 will still sting, considering Kentucky had the goods to get to the Final Four last season based on its bracket. UK does again in 2019.

Ahead of Kentucky:

  1. Gonzaga Bulldogs
  2. Kansas Jayhawks
  3. Virginia Cavaliers
  4. Tennessee Volunteers
  5. Nevada Wolfpack
  6. Duke Blue Devils

The North Carolina Tar Heels, the Kansas State Wildcats and the Villanova Wildcats rounded out the top 10, in that order.

There are some interesting things in these rankings. First, are we really still buying the hype on Gonzaga every year?

Second, it amazes me that Duke isn’t being ranked higher by Katz and other outlets. Mike Krzyzewski is bringing in what might be the greatest recruiting class of all time. Grayson Allen or not, Duke should be expected to win a National Championship, and anything short should be considered a failure. If Coach K wants to one-and-done recruit, it’s time to put the same pressure on him that people put on John Calipari.

Third, Kentucky is ranked No. 3 by ESPN and No. 4 by CBS Sports, so Katz has the low-ball ranking for Kentucky thus far.

The SEC is pretty well represented in this top 36. Tennessee is fairly rated in the top five, as they bring back almost all of their roster from last year’s surprisingly successful campaign.

And right outside the top 10 are the Auburn Tigers at No. 11. Bruce Pearl has his extension and he’ll surely have Auburn competing in the SEC again.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs cracked the top 25 at No. 24, the LSU Tigers came in at 28, and the Florida Gators placed at No. 32.