October 28, 2013
At least one computer system agrees with the humans -- Kentucky is the preseason No. 1 team in the nation.
ESPN analyst Dan Hanner's projections are based on 10,000 computer simulations. Those say Kentucky could finish as high as No. 1 (where they started, and where most predict they will end up) and as low as No. 13 in the country.
The median offensive efficiency ranking for UK's offense is 120.4, which would be just behind the 2012 title team among Calipari's UK groups.
The median defensive efficiency rating is 90.0, which would trail both the title team and the 2010 team.
That jives with Ken Pomeroy's rankings, which project UK's offense to rank first nationally (but with a 34th-ranked defense, UK is slated at No. 5 in the preseason).
Of course, stats-based projections are difficult to give full weight to because of Kentucky's heavy reliance on freshman, which are (obviously) harder to input into a system than returning players with a data base already established for their play.
But I think they're right about one thing: Kentucky will not have problems scoring the ball. There are simply too many weapons that will share the court at one time.
It's on the defensive side that UK must be great. Of the last eight years, John Calipari's teams have been among the best in the country seven times; last year was the exception.
He's got better players now, but they must buy in to the defensive side of the ball.