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Where Kentucky stands in ESPN’s updated top 25, plus projected starting lineup

The Cats remain inside the top five.

Oscar Tshiebwe. Sahvir Wheeler. Drew Brown - Sea of Blue

The 2022-23 college basketball season will get started a little earlier for the Kentucky Wildcats, as they are preparing for their preseason trip to the Bahamas this August.

With the roster likely completed, the Cats are going to be one of the top teams in the country once again.

On Tuesday, ESPN released their updated way-too-early top 25 for the upcoming season and while the Cats slipped, they still expect them to be one of the nation’s best teams.

The North Carolina Tar Heels held on to the top spot with their addition of Northwestern transfer Pete Nance.

As for Kentucky, they dropped one spot from No. 3 to No. 4 with Jacob Toppin being seen as an interesting storyline for the Cats.

“One of the more intriguing storylines entering next season for the Wildcats involves Jacob Toppin and whether he is poised for a breakout season. Toppin has shown flashes of his ceiling — 16 points against Vanderbilt in 2021, 14 and eight against LSU, and 13 and six against Alabama last season — but has not yet produced consistently enough to be a surefire starter. He has elite physical skills, though, and in the two games last season in which he played more than 30 minutes, he averaged 10.5 points and 6.0 rebounds. Granted, it was just the two, but he didn’t look out of place.”

Calipari has a lot of different options for his lineup next season, and they have the players to play smaller if they want to.

“Whether he takes the next step could determine how John Calipari’s lineup looks in 2022-23. Five-star recruit Chris Livingston is more of an offensive threat and has good size at 6-7, while Illinois State transfer Antonio Reeves and CJ Fredrick provide shooting ability in a potentially smaller lineup.”

In addition, here’s ESPN’s projected starting lineup for the Wildcats next season:

· Sahvir Wheeler (10.1 PPG)

· Cason Wallace (No. 20 in ESPN 100)

· Antonio Reeves (20.1 PPG at Illinois State)

· Chris Livingston (No. 12 in ESPN 100)

· Oscar Tshiebwe (17.4 PPG)

The entire top 10 included:

1. North Carolina Tar Heels

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs

3. Houston Cougars

4. Kentucky Wildcats

5. Duke Blue Devils

6. Kansas Jayhawks

7. Creighton Bluejays

8. Baylor Bears

9. UCLA Bruins

10. Arkansas Razorbacks

You can check out the entire top 25 ranking here.

So, what do you think of the ranking and the projected lineup? Let us know in the comments section!