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Kentucky makes Dick Vitale’s ‘elite eight’ teams for the 2022-23 season

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Dick Vitale likes the early outlook of the Kentucky roster.

Texas A&M v Arkansas Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It’s talking season folks. With talking season comes way-too-early rankings and everything in between.

The interesting thing for the early part of this off-season is they all favor Kentucky again next season.

Dick Vitale is the latest to release his ‘elite eight’ preseason rankings, and he has the Cats coming in at third overall. They follow North Carolina and Houston, while also being ranked ahead of Arkansas, Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas, and Creighton.

Here is what Vitale had to say about ranking the Cats No. 3 overall:

“If Wooden Award winner Oscar Tshiebwe returns, the Wildcats will have a major force up front. Another veteran expected to return is guard Sahvir Wheeler, one of the top passers in America. Yes the Cats lost TyTy Washington Jr. and Keion Brooks Jr. to the NBA Draft, but John Calipari will reload with premier diaper dandies. Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston, a pair of top-15 recruits, will be names of note that Big Blue Nation celebrates.”

Obviously the driving force behind this early ranking is the way things are trending for Oscar’s return. If he ultimately does come back to Lexington, then returning the National Player of the Year validates a top-five preseason overall roster position.

The big question mark in all of this; what will Shaedon Sharpe do?

If Sharpe is on the roster and Oscar returns, you can make a good case for the top spot when it comes to most-talented roster. If he doesn’t, then a top-five roster is a good spot to be after losing the No. 1 overall recruit.

With transfer portal options still being looked over, and the potential addition of other transfers, there is still some roster movement that needs to be done. But being in the top-five is certainly not a bad place to be.