A media poll released on Wednesday morning announced that the Kentucky Wildcats have been declared as the favorite to win the SEC title in the upcoming 2016-2017 season. It is the 12th time that the Wildcats have been projected to win the conference since the 1998-1999 season.
Last season, Kentucky tied for first-place as a result of the regular season SEC standings alongside Texas A&M. However, the Wildcats defeated the Aggies in the SEC Tournament Final to secure the conference’s automatic bid and a fourth-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
In the NCAA Tournament, Kentucky lost in the second-round to the fifth-seeded Indiana Hoosiers.
The Wildcats’ preseason ranking comes after losing many key contributors from that 2015-2016 team, including Jamal Murray, Tyler Ulis, Alex Poythress and Skal Labissiere. Per usual, head coach John Calipari has replenished the team with a strong recruiting class that includes five-star prospects Edrice Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox, Wenyen Gabriel and Malik Monk. All four are consensus top 20 recruits by all four major recruiting services.
In Calipari’s seven seasons as the school’s head coach, Kentucky has never finished worse than second in the conference and have won it in each of the last two seasons.
Complete preseason rankings:
- Texas A&M
- South Carolina
- Mississippi State
It is also worth noting that Arkansas Razorbacks’ big man Moses Kingsley has been named as the SEC Preseason Player of the Year. As a junior last season, Kingsley averaged 15.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game for the Razorbacks. The aforementioned Fox and Adebayo were also selected to the preseason All-SEC team along with Texas A&M’s Tyler Davis and Georgia’s J.J. Frazier.