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Kentucky Wildcats ranked #3 in new SI Poll

The Wildcats only trail Kansas and Duke.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Kentucky vs Georgia Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky comes in at 3rd in a new Sports Illustrated poll, thanks to the return of P.J. Washington, which jumped the Wildcats from 5th to 3rd, only trailing Kansas and Duke.

Here is what SI had to say about Kentucky:

The Wildcats got P.J. Washington, Nick Richards and Quade Green back from their 2017 freshman class, then jumped up to this year’s No. 2 recruiting class with the late commitment of five-star forward E.J. Montgomery, the No. 9 player in the 2018 class. They may not be done either, with Stanford leading scorer Reid Travis visiting both Lexington and Villanova soon. The addition of Travis, who averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds in the Pac-12 last season, would be a huge boon and would provide some veteran leadership to what will again be a young Kentucky squad.

This ranking doesn’t account for the addition of Ashton Hagans either, which will be another major boost to the Wildcats roster.

Gonzaga and North Carolina round out the top 5. Other teams of note include:

8. Tennessee Volunteers

12. Auburn Tigers

14. Kansas State Wildcats

19. LSU Tigers

21. Florida Gators

24. Mississippi State Bulldogs

The SEC slate will be a tough one this year. Outside of those teams, Vanderbilt and Arkansas also figure to be competitive as well. The conference likely isn’t as deep as it was last year, but it should be a lot better at the top.

What do you think of where the Cats come in for this early poll?