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Five teams poised to unseat Kentucky
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On October 17, 2013 @ 6:21 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Nicole Auerbach and Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
From the NIT to preseason No. 1, Kentucky made history on Thursday.
When the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll was unveiled with the Wildcats voted as the top team in the country, it was the first time a team entered the poll at No. 1 after finishing the previous season unranked.
Kentucky earned a high preseason respect thanks to an influx of talent, including sophomores and de facto veterans Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein. But it all comes down to a stellar group of freshman that could rival the Michigan “Fab Five.” Ushering in perhaps the greatest recruiting class of all-time — boasting six McDonald’s All-Americans — John Calipari’s reloaded Kentucky team is positioned to get back to title form after missing the NCAA tournament last season.
But how long can the Wildcats stay on top? Last season featured numerous shakeups atop the Coaches Poll. UK players think they’re talented enough to go 40-0. That’d be incredibly difficult considering the learning curve for such a youthful squad and the rigorous schedule that Calipari has assembled.
USA TODAY Sports takes a look at the teams in the top 25 likely to replace the Wildcats as the best team in the country.
1. Michigan State: The Spartans could overtake the Wildcats at No. 1 very quickly and suddenly. If this experienced Michigan State squad, led by the backcourt tandem of Gary Harris and Keith Appling, knocks off Kentucky at the Champions Classic on Nov. 12, the Spartans will be the top team in the nation and the kids at Kentucky will be reeling from a rough introduction to big-time college basketball.
2. Duke: The Blue Devils will likely have two chances to bolster their résumé and jump up to No. 1 in November: against Kansas at the Champions Classic on Nov. 12, and against Arizona in the NIT Season Tip-Off final on Nov. 29 (assuming both teams reach the championship game). Those are winnable games for a Duke squad positioned to create matchup problems and headaches for opponents with the versatility of 6-8 wings Rodney Hood (Mississippi State transfer) and Jabari … [For more on Five teams poised to unseat Kentucky at No. 1, click here.]
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