By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky might be No. 1 in some preseason national basketball polls and the choice of many Las Vegas oddsmakers as the favorite to win the national title, but CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein doesn’t even have UK No. 1 in his offseason SEC power rankings.
Instead, he has Tennessee No. 1 and Auburn No. 2 followed by Kentucky, Mississippi State, LSU and then Florida. He predicts Tennessee’s Grant Williams will be the SEC Player of the year.
His preseason first team includes Reid Travis of Kentucky, Tremont Waters of LSU, Bryce Brown of Auburn, Daniel Gafford of Arkansas and Williams.
I reached out to Rothstein for comment about his rankings. He did not respond. However, he did respond on Twitter to a complain about UK being third.
“Absurd? No. Fair and objective? Yes. Tennessee returns 88.9% of its scoring. Auburn returns five of its top seven scorers, while adding Samir Doughty, Danjel Purifoy, and Austin Wiley,” Rothstein posted on Twitter.
Maybe I am wrong, but UK returns P.J. Washington, Quade Green and Nick Richards. It adds Travis, a two-time all-conference player at Stanford. It adds the best recruiting class in the conference and Rothstein has Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, E.J. Montgomery and Tyler Herro — all five UK freshmen — on his list of 15 impact SEC freshmen.
Maybe Rothstein will turn out to be right about Calipari’s Cats. But I don’t think so.