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ESPN picks UK to win the SEC, talks Final Four prospects

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Do the Cats have a real shot at the Final Four?

Davion Mintz. Sahvir Wheeler. Drew Brown - Sea of Blue

The college basketball preseason has officially arrived with the Kentucky Wildcats facing Kentucky Wesleyan in their first exhibition game tonight.

With the regular season right around the corner, media outlets are now giving their conference previews.

On Thursday, ESPN released their SEC primer and two of the three analyst picked the Cats to win the SEC this season.

Myron Medcalf and Jeff Borzello believe that the Cats will win the SEC while John Gasaway has Kentucky finishing third in the league behind Alabama and Tennessee.

The analysts also talked about the Cats’ chances of making their first Final Four appearance since the 2015 season. Overall, the group doesn’t see the Cats as a No. 1 seed, but they believe this team can make a deep run.

Here is what Medcalf had to say about the Cats:

“Both droughts can end if Kentucky reaches its ceiling this year. I don’t think this group has an overwhelming pool of talent when compared to a Gonzaga, Kansas, or Texas. But I also think it has eight or nine players who could all crack the starting rotation at some point. This is a Kentucky squad that could have a veteran bench, if CJ Fredrick (once he’s healthy) or Davion Mintz (last year’s leading scorer) play with John Calipari’s second unit. The depth — more than the talent — is Kentucky’s ticket to a top seed and the Final Four, and it has the pieces to be a great team by season’s end.”

He continued, “Calipari’s best squads since the 2012 national title run — the 2015 (Final Four) and 2017 (Elite Eight) teams — were stacked with undeniable NBA prospects. While TyTy Washington is a potential star and Daimion Collins is an equally intriguing prospect on a team with other players who could evolve into pros, I don’t think they’ll have the edge that 2015 and 2017 had in talent in most games. That 2015 squad beat six top-50 KenPom squads in the nonconference season — five by double digits. This team will get a shot at four top-50 KenPom squads (per preseason rankings) before SEC play. We’ll know a lot more about their potential to capture a No. 1 seed and make a deep run after these Wildcats complete that portion of their slate.”

You can check out everything the three analysts had to say here.

Do you believe that the Cats have a real shot at making a run to the Final Four this season? Let us know in the comments section.