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After tumultuous offseason, Kentucky basketball is back in preseason Top 25

After tumultuous offseason, Kentucky basketball is back in preseason Top 25 | Locked on Kentucky
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Jul 27, 2023

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Sep 17, 2023

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The tide turned for the ‘Cats with the return of Antonio Reeves and the addition of forward Tre Mitchell via the transfer portal.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — It’s been quite a whirlwind year for John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats.

Kentucky finished last season with a respectable 22-12 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where as a six seed they were set down by three seed Kansas State, 75-69.

Since then, however, most of the conversation has been about players departing the program, including Oscar Tshiebwe and Chris Livingston both remaining in the NBA draft, while key rotation players Sahvir Wheeler and CJ Fredrick hit the transfer portal.

In fact until recently Kentucky had just seven confirmed scholarship players, five who were incoming freshmen from what is considered a historically weak 2023 class.

But, as it often does, the tides turned for the ‘Cats with the return of veteran guard Antonio Reeves and the addition of forward Tre Mitchell, a late add to the transfer portal following the departure of coach Bob Huggins at West Virginia.

Now, a recent look at ESPN’s latest preseason Top 25 has Kentucky in at No. 17, and Locked on Kentucky host Lance Dawe broke it all down on the latest episode of the podcast.

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Preseason rankings should never be taken too seriously, but the jump for Kentucky is proof there is belief this team’s concoction of elite young talent – they signed four 5* players all ranked in the top 16 at 247Sports – and veteran presence from Mitchell and Reeves is enough for this team to make noise in the SEC.

Of course, Kentucky fans want more than just a good showing in conference play, they want to make a deep run in the Big Dance, something that has not happened since they lost in the Elite 8 to Auburn in 2019.

This team might have the perfect recipe to do exactly that.

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