With Big Blue Madness now past us and exhibition games on the horizon, college basketball season is nearly here. In fact, the Kentucky Wildcats’ season opener against New Mexico State is just three weeks away from today.
That said, it’s the time when preseason rankings and projections are released. On Sunday, one of the most respected analytic ratings in college basketball, KenPom, released its initial rankings, and Kentucky appeared at No. 18, behind four other SEC schools. Based on these rankings, Kentucky will play 10 games against the KenPom Top 25.
Take these rankings with a grain of salt, as KenPom is a rating system that uses in-game performance based on the differential, or net rating, between a team’s offensive and defensive ratings. For reference, Kentucky was ranked No. 1 in the preseason KenPom rankings last season.
Here are some other notable rankings
17. North Carolina*
24. Texas A&M*
Note: *Kentucky plays once, **Kentucky plays twice
The full KenPom rankings can be viewed here.
We also have our first official top-25 ranking, as the first AP Top 25 Poll was just released, and Kentucky came in at No. 16. It’s the lowest of the John Calipari era and just the second time under Cal Kentucky is ranked outside the top 10. The other was 2010-11, and we know how that went.
The Wildcats are the fourth-ranked SEC team, with Tennessee (No. 9), Arkansas (No. 14), and Texas A&M (No. 15) ahead, while Alabama (No. 24) made it just inside the poll.
Other notable teams Kentucky will face include No. 1 Kansas, No. 11 Gonzaga, No. 13 Miami, and No. 19 North Carolina.
1. Kansas (46)
2. Duke (11)
3. Purdue (3)
4. Michigan State (1)
6. UConn (2)
13. Miami (FL)
15. Texas A&M
17. San Diego State
19. North Carolina
23. Saint Mary’s
Others receiving votes: Wisconsin 53, Colorado 49, UCLA 47, St. John’s 47, Maryland 34, Virginia 27, Auburn 27, TCU 24, Mississippi St. 20, Kansas St 13, Xavier 8, Memphis 7, Missouri 6, Boise St. 4, Indiana 3, Florida 2, Coll of Charleston 2, New Mexico 1, Drake 1.
Where do you believe Kentucky should be ranked to start the 2023-24 season? Let us know in the comments section!