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Kentucky Wildcats ranked high in SI and SB Nation college basketball top 25 polls for 2018-19

Another year, another set of lofty expectations for Kentucky Basketball

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional Practice Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

There is nothing on earth that proves to be less scientific and accurate that the preseason sports poll. But by no means does that ever prevent anyone from doing one.

Sports Illustrated and SB Nation released their 2018-2019 preseason college basketball polls on Tuesday, and they both have the Kentucky Wildcats checking in at No. 5.

In fact, 4 of the top 5 teams in each poll were identical. Sports Illustrated’s top 10 looks like this:

  1. Kansas Jayhawks
  2. Duke Blue Devils
  3. Villanova Wildcats
  4. Michigan Wolverines
  5. Kentucky Wildcats
  6. North Carolina Tar Heels
  7. Virginia Cavaliers
  8. Gonzaga Bulldogs
  9. Auburn Tigers
  10. Tennessee Volunteers

Sports Illustrated’s Molly Geary had this to say about Kentucky:

An extremely young Wildcats team didn’t quite have the season we’re accustomed to seeing in Lexington, but the silver lining for UK is that it likely won’t see a full one-and-done exodus this time around. It would be surprising to see Kevin Knox or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander back for a sophomore season and Hamidou Diallo may be gone as well despite a disappointing year, but it’s possible the likes of P.J. Washington, Quade Green and Jarred Vanderbilt will all stick around. Add a junior Wenyen Gabriel and a sixth-ranked recruiting class made up of guards Keldon Johnson, Immanuel Quickley and Tyler Herro, and it’s easy to envision Kentucky regaining its place among the elite.

SB Nation had the same teams listed in the top 10, but the order was a bit different.

  1. Kansas Jayhawks
  2. Duke Blue Devils
  3. Villanova Wildcats
  4. Virginia Cavaliers
  5. Kentucky Wildcats
  6. Gonzaga Bulldogs
  7. North Carolina Tar Heels
  8. Tennessee Volunteers
  9. Auburn Tigers
  10. Michigan Wolverines

Mike Rutherford believes Kentucky will take several steps forward next season.

As is the case every year around this time, no one knows exactly what Kentucky’s roster is going to look like for next season. After a (by their standards) mildly disappointing season while fielding the youngest team in the country, logic says the Wildcats are going to have fewer defections than usual this spring. If that winds up being the case, John Calipari figures to have a team that’s much better equipped to make a run at a national title in 2019.

When media members talk about teams underachieving, particularly Kentucky, they often compare the Wildcats’ success with what was expected in preseason polls...which are set by the media.

Kentucky is in the top 5 almost every season, and regardless of who comes back each year that puts high expectations on a team that will still be very young. Is it fair? I am not sure that matters.

Preseason polls are not going anywhere, although the rankings would be more useful and accurate if they were debuted after a month or so of play.

How do you feel about preseason polls?