Jay Bilas released his top-68 teams on the season this morning, and the Kentucky Wildcats check in at No. 7 for Bilas.
Much like the AP Poll which has the Wildcats at No. 8, no one would have put Kentucky in the top-10 three weeks ago, much less think that they were an actual contender.
If the NCAA tournament were to go by Bilas’ rankings, Kentucky would be sitting at a 2 seed as of right now.
One surprising thing about Bilas’ rankings was that he only put three SEC teams in his top-25. This comes off six teams being in the AP top-25 poll, but three of those ranked teams took losses on Tuesday.
Here’s what Bilas had to say about the Wildcats:
Give John Calipari credit. This dude does not surrender to the excuses of youth, and he just keeps coaching up the young guys. And they respond. Like last season with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, freshman point guard Ashton Hagans has broken out to become a team-changing star. We often refer to a player breaking out due to offensive performance. Yet Hagans broke out with his defense, his harassing pressure on the ball, his steals and his resulting offensive improvement. Plus, Tyler Herro has blossomed into a reliable scorer and defender. The next step is for Nick Richards to play more minutes. His rim protection is the one thing Kentucky lacks.
Bilas’ top-10 consisted of:
- Virginia Cavaliers
- Duke Blue Devils
- Tennessee Volunteers
- Michigan State Spartans
- Michigan Wolverines
- Gonzaga Bulldogs
- Kentucky Wildcats
- North Carolina Tar Heels
- Buffalo Bulls
- Nevada Wolf Pack
The Kansas Jayhawks came in at No. 11. If Kentucky were to beat them on Saturday, that would give the Cats two wins over top-11 teams in this ranking after beating North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic.
You can check out the rest of Bilas’ 68-team rankings here.