#1 Kentucky Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Kentucky Wildcats

2014-15 Overall Rank: #1
Conference Rank: #1 SEC

Kentucky Team Page#1 Kentucky Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Kentucky Basketball Tickets

Reload. That’s been the theme for John Calipari’s group the last few years. You think losing two of there best players in Julius Randle and James Young would hurt them, but not really. They have two five star players coming in and have some key returnees. And the Cats are expected to be even better than last year’s Final Four squad.

2013-14 Record: 29-13, 12-6
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: John Calipari
Coach Record: 152-37 at Kentucky, 555-174 overall

Who’s Out:
As I mentioned earlier, UK is losing two of their best guys from last year to the NBA. Julius Randle was drafted 7th overall to the Lakers, and James Young went 17th overall to the Celtics. Both played a big role in Kentucky’s Final Four run with Randle averaging 15 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. They will miss his aggressiveness in the paint. Young averaged 14.3 points and was known as being their best shooter. They will miss those two, but they have a lot of talent coming in to replace them.

Who’s In:
Two 5-stars and a 4-star; Kentucky is used to having this kind of recruiting class. Karl Towns ranked 9th overall in the ESPN 100 and is expected to play the biggest role amongst the freshmen. The 6-11 big man can do it all, averaging 20.6 points and 6.1 blocks per game in his senior year of high school. He will be a good replacement for Julius Randle. Trey Lyles was actually ranked ahead of Towns, coming in 6th overall, but with the depth Kentucky has at center, don’t expect Lyles to start this year. He will still see a lot of playing time however, and will still make an impact offensively. Tyler Ulis is the 4-star recruit, who is known for his speed and three-point shooting. He will excite fans coming off the bench. Look for John Calipari to rotate him with the Harrison brothers, and could be Kentucky’s 6th man. These three talented freshmen will help replace the talent Kentucky lost to the NBA.

Who to Watch:
Guess what, the Harrison brothers are back. When Andrew and Aaron announced that they would not be entering the Draft, that was beyond huge news for the Kentucky faithful. Both of them continued to improve throughout last season, and were very clutch in the NCAA Tourney. Andrew hit not one, not two, but three game winning shots in March Madness that led UK to another Final Four. Look for both of them to start and make a huge impact, not only on the court, but off it. Both of them will be big leaders on this team. Willy Cauley-Stein is also back and leads a dominant Kentucky frontcourt along with returning sophomore Dakari Johnson and freshman Trey Lyles. The explosive Alex Poythress will start at forward and will provide his consistent three-point shooting to the rotation. Once again, Kentucky is loaded.

Final Projection:
In my opinion, this Kentucky team is better that what they had last year; and last year they went to the Final Four. Expect UK to dominate SEC play and make another run at the National Championship. Kentucky has so much depth down low; no team in the country will be able to match that. Look for the Cats to have another outstanding season, and send many guys to the NBA. But John Calipari will just keep on reloading.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Andrew Harrison, Sophomore, Guard, 10.9 points per game
Aaron Harrison, Sophomore, Guard, 13.7 points per game
Alex Poythress, Junior, Forward, 5.9 points per game
Karl-Anthony Towns, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Willie Cauley-Stein, Junior, Forward, 6.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring offense: 74.8 (69th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring defense: 66.6 (81, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage 45.3 (118, 3)
Field Goal Defense: 41.4 (59, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.1 (288, 12)
Three-Point Field Goal Percentage: 33.2 (213, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.2 (232, 9)
Rebound Margin: 6.7 (2, 1)
Assists Per Game: 11.2 (284, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (143, 7)

Madness 2015 NBA Draft Rankings:
#7 Karl Towns
#9 Willie Cauley-Stein
#21 Marcus Lee
#26 Trey Lyles
#35 DaKari Johnson
#36 Aaron Harrison
#47 Andrew Harrison
#49 Alex Poythress

Madness 2014 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#5 Karl Towns
#10 Trey Lyles
#19 Tyler Ulis
#22 Devin Booker


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