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Kentucky Basketball tops Sports Illustrated’s SEC Power Rankings

The Wildcats look poised to claim yet another SEC title this year, but the rest of the league is right behind them.

Kansas State v Kentucky Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

College football made its much anticipated return over the weekend, and while I am excited about that, I’m also looking forward to the return of college basketball in just a couple months.

Since the return of basketball is imminent, it is time for one last round of power rankings as rosters are set and teams make their final preparations for this season’s campaign. Sports Illustrated has published summer power rankings for each conference and the SEC’s power rankings have finally been released.

As most probably expected, the Kentucky Wildcats top the list. With the mix of veterans (Reid Travis, PJ Washington, Nick Richards, and Quade Green) and incoming, freshman talent (Keldon Johnson, Immanuel Quickley, Ashton Hagans, Tyler Herro, and EJ Montgomery) Kentucky looks poised to dominate the SEC yet again.

But, like last season, the SEC is deep and talented. The Tennessee Volunteers and Auburn Tigers, last year’s regular season co-champions, are right behind Kentucky at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, in the rankings. Mississippi State and LSU round out the top five.

Kentucky’s most successful teams have always had a mix of freshman talent and veteran presence (i.e. the 2012 National Champions and the 2015 Final Four Team). The Wildcats looked good in the preseason games in the Bahamas, but when the games start counting we’ll be able to see if they have returned to Calipari’s most successful formula this season.

I don’t think anyone will be surprised if the Wildcats come out on top of the SEC again, but the talent in the rest of the league will make this season interesting, yet again. There is a lot to be proved in the middle of the league and there are a couple new coaches rebuilding their programs. Anything can happen in the SEC and this season will be no exception.

Be sure to get SI’s full scoop on the SEC here.

How do you think the Cats will fare this season in the SEC?