Finally, the dust has settled from the chaos that is the early departure deadline for college basketball players all over the country. This is especially true for fans of the Kentucky Wildcats, as we had eight players that could have declared for the 2014 NBA draft and been drafted. Of course, now that the deadline has come and gone, Kentucky fans can breath easy. The roster is set, and man is it loaded. Nine former McDonald’s All-Americans. Ten former top-50 players. The practices will be fierce. The games could be lopsided. For now, however, fans must stare blankly into the depths of the offseason, anxiously awaiting the upcoming season. This season could bring a ninth national championship, and based on commentary from around the country, this seems to be a consensus opinion before the preseason even arrives.
The folks over at ESPN and CBS put out their way-too-early preseason top-25 for the upcoming 2014-2015 college basketball season. Check out the excerpt from each about next year’s Kentucky team, which has a unique blend of talent and experience.
CBS ‘ Gary Parrish
Coach: John Calipari
Last season’s record: 29-11
Players gone: Julius Randle, James Young, Jarrod Polson, Jon Hood
Projected starting lineup in 2014-15:
- G: Andrew Harrison
- G: Aaron Harrison
- F: Alex Poythress
- F: Trey Lyles
- C: Dakari Johnson
- Reserves: Willie Cauley-Stein, Karl Towns, Marcus Lee, Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker, Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis
ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan
Kentucky Wildcats: Kentucky was our No. 3 in the Way Too Early rankings back when we were almost certain the Harrison twins, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, and maybe even Dakari Johnson would be headed to the NBA. In the end, Kentucky kept all five, and add two of the best big men in the country (Trey Lyles, Karl Towns) in the incoming class to form a team that is surprisingly experienced, mind-bendingly tall (Calipari has three 7-footers and two 6-10 guys, all of whom are likely to play in the NBA), and every bit as loaded on natural talent as ever. Kentucky is losing Julius Randle and James Young to the draft, and will probably be better next season. Kind of insane!
In addition to the way-too-early preseason polls, Vegas released the odds for the 2015 National Championship earlier today. With no surprise at all, Kentucky is the preseason favorites for the second straight season. Check out the top-25 odds below.
North Carolina 16/1
Michigan State 25/1
Wichita State 28/1
Iowa State 33/1
Ohio State 50/1
Miami FL 66/1
San Diego State 66/1
With these released, Kentucky fans have something to hang their hat on for the entire offseason and into the preseason. Enjoy it, Kentucky fans. Come next season, there might not be too many close games to “enjoy” if this team reaches their potential.