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No. 11: Kentucky Wildcats

Image (1) kentucky.gif for post 325

2009-10 record: 35-3 (14-2), first in SEC East
Lost to West Virginia in Elite Eight
Coach: John Calipari, 35-3, 1 year (480-143 overall)
Last NCAA miss: 2009
2010-11 roster [click here]
2010-11 schedule [click here]

The good: Kentucky replaced its early entrants to the NBA draft ... with more future NBA players. Enes Kanter, Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight may all be one-and-done players, while fellow newcomers Doron Lamb, Stacey Poole and Eloy Vargas all figure to play significant minutes.

Pair those six players with established Wildcats like DeAndre Liggins, Darius Miller and Josh Harrellson and you’re looking at a team capable of reaching the Sweet 16 again, possibly even the Elite Eight.

The bad: It’s a good freshman crop, but no player is as good as John Wall or DeMarcus Cousins, lottery picks in the 2010 NBA draft. That’s the primary reason coach John Calipari is telling Big Blue Nation to lower their expectations. Kentucky will be good, just not 35-wins good.

The unknown: Kanter’s NCAA eligibility remains the $64,000 question. Did the 6-10 Turkish center receive more than $100,000 in salary and expenses from his former club, Fenerbahce Ulker? That’s what the NCAA is trying to determine. For the last five months or so.

Expect an answer sometime before the season. If he’s unable to play, Kentucky’s ranking drops 10 spots.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.