How do you lose 6 players to the NBA Draft last year and still end up ranked the 2nd best team in the country? Well, look above and you will see 2 new freshmen guards. The top-ranked point guard in the country Isaiah Briscoe (#13) and highly touted combo guard Jamal Murray (#23). Replacing two twins in Aaron and Andrew Harrison who were previously starters, no problem right? Lose the number 1 overall draft pick in Karl Towns and replace him with the second best player in the country from high school, Skal Labissiere (#1). Keep an upperclassmen with some Final Four experience in Alex Poythress. Get some shooting ability that can spread the defense from incoming freshmen Charles Mathews (#4) and there it is! A college basketball team that can go 7 to 8 deep easily, that’s all you need to get through a non-conference schedule and the always under-talented SEC conference. But let’s break down the rest of the Wildcats’ upcoming season.
The only reason I believe in the deep postseason run this year’s Wildcats’ will take is because of Tyler Ulis. Tyler’s role last season was shortened because of the prowess of starting point guard Andrew Harrison. Although, it can be argued that when Ulis was on the floor, the team’s overall performance and efficiency was much more sharp. With his natural leadership abilities as a point guard and toughness with his 5 feet 9 inches frame, the sophomore guard is ready to step in as a starter. Add in the skill of elite big man Skal Labissiere, Kentucky will have a solid inside-outside attack against opponents.
Their is undoubtedly less talent on this year’s Kentucky squad. In past years you’ve had teams that boasted today’s NBA All-Star’s like John Wall and Anthony Davis. This team doesn’t have any of those. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean they won’t be successful. Theirs a clear leader on this team, a star go-to player for crunch time moments, endless guards, and a proven coach who knows how to get to the Final Four (appeared in 4 in past 5 years). The Kentucky Wildcats will always be a contender. And now with a stronger SEC conference than ever this year, with the likes of star-studded LSU, a Daniel House lead Texas A&M, and Malik Newman’s Mississippi State, the Wildcats will be tested early on.
Enjoy the masterful Kentucky Wildcats season as it will begin Friday night at 6 PM Est. against Albany.
-My prediction is that the Wildcats will reach the National Championship game against North Carolina and lose.
-Regular Season Record Prediction: 27-4 (Losses: Duke, @ LSU, @ Kansas, @ Texas A&M)
Credits: UKathletics.com (For photos and scheduling info), ESPN.com (For recruiting info),