Sports Illustrated did not include Kentucky in its pre- pre-season top 20 poll for 2009-10. But the magazine recognized UK’s chances of making a big splash under first-year coach John Calipari by designating the program as a “wildcard.”
Here’s what Sports Illustrated wrote about Kentucky:
“In their current state, the Wildcats shouldn’t be near the top 20. But how will they look once new coach John Calipari is done building his first-year roster? The best-case scenario in Lexington could yield a team capable of chasing a national title. If lethal scorer Jodie Meeks, who plans to test the draft waters as a junior, can be convinced to return along with sophomore Patrick Patterson, and Calipari can reel in elite recruits John Wall (who had been considering Memphis) and DeMarcus Cousins (who previously committed to Memphis), then Kentucky will be scary. Landing Wall, the top prep point guard in the country, is the key, because there’s no one on UK’s present roster who can make Calipari’s Dribble-Drive Motion offense run in high gear.”
Here’s the Sports Illustrated top 20:
1. Michigan State; 2. Kansas; 3. Syracuse; 4. Connecticut; 5. Villanova; 6. Duke; 7. Purdue; 8. North Carolina; 9. West Virginia; 10. Oklahoma.
11. Texas; 12. Gonzaga; 13. Washington; 14. UCLA; 15. Missouri; 16. Butler; 17. Minnesota; 18. Clemson; 19. Dayton; 20. Xavier