SEC Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals - Vanderbilt v Kentucky

Kentucky named Preseason No. 1 in coaches poll for first time since 1995


The first installment of the USA Today Coaches Poll was released on Thursday afternoon, and it shouldn’t come as a shock to many of you that Kentucky was named the Preseason No. 1 team in the country. Believe it or not, that’s only the second time in program history that Kentucky has been named Preseason No. 1 in the coaches poll. The last time was in 1995-96, the year that Rick Pitino led the wildcats to a national title.

Back to this year’s poll, it also shouldn’t come as a surprise that Michigan State was slotted at No. 2 or that reigning champions Louisville checked in at No. 3.

Duke and Arizona round out the top five, while Kansas, Syracuse, Florida, Michigan and Ohio State make up the rest of the top ten.

None of those rankings are out of the ordinary.

In fact, I’d say the most shocking thing about the poll is that there’s really nothing all that shocking about it.

Sure, Oregon is probably slotted a bit too high at No. 18, especially when you consider that Cal checks in at 34th, Arizona State only got two votes for the top 25 poll and Stanford was no where to be found in the rankings of any of the 32 coaches who voted.

Four teams from outside the seven power conferences (I’m including the Big East and the AAC in that conversation) made the top 25: Gonzaga, Wichita State, VCU and New Mexico. Ironically enough, that’s the same as the number of former Big East teams currently ranked: Louisville, Syracuse, Notre Dame and UConn. Marquette is the only current Big East member in the top 25.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.


PHOTO: South Carolina gets new uniforms

Frank Martin
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South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.

They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.