By LARRY VAUGHT
By the time the basketball season starts, Kentucky likely will be a consensus No. 1 pick in all the preseason polls.
ESPN moved UK to No. 1 immediately after Reid Travis transferred from Stanford to Kentucky. A few days later CBS Sports did the same thing.
“Kentucky lost a lot of players early to the NBA Draft, per usual. But you can still reasonably argue that, all things considered, this has been a great offseason for the Wildcats,” wrote Gary Parrish.
He pointed out that the return of P.J. Washington and Quade Green for their sophomore seasons along with Travis’ transfer and Ashton Hagans reclassifying to the 2018 recruiting class gave UK an “immensely talented roster” that for a change also has experience — a rarity for Calipar at UK.
CBS Sports has Kansas, Duke, Tennessee and Gonzaga rounding out the top five with Nevada, Virginia, North Carolina, Villanova and Auburn completing the top 10.
“You could make an argument for Kansas. Perhaps Duke too,” Parrish wrote. “But nobody has a better mix of experienced talent and incredible talent than UK. So a fifth Final Four in a 10-year span seems possible, and a second national championship for Calipari is very much in play.”
Las Vegas oddsmakers also have UK at 6-1 to win the national championship, the lowest odds of any team.