UK just outside top 10 in ESPN's 'way-too-early' women's college basketball rankingsLexington Herald-Leader — Josh Sullivan Lexington Herald-Leader
March 25-- Mar. 25--In normal times, college basketball fans would be looking forward to an exciting slate of games in the men's and women's NCAA Tournaments later this week. If not for the coronavirus pandemic having shut down the sports world almost completely, the regional semifinals and finals would have played out, narrowing both fields to the Final Four.
In our current reality, however, we're left to speculate about what might have been. And, as a temporary escape, it never hurts to look forward to what could come to pass next season.
ESPN on Wednesday released its "Way-too-early" women's basketball top 25 rankings for the 2020-21 season. Kentucky, at No. 12, is projected to improve next year. The Wildcats ended this season ranked No. 16 after a loss to No. 9 Mississippi State in the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals.
Though the Wildcats will lose key contributors like Jaida Roper, Amanda Paschal and Sabrina Haines to graduation, star guard Rhyne Howard will return for her junior season coming off a year in which she was voted a First Team All-American by The Associated Press and was named a finalist for national player of the year. The Wildcats should also get a big boost from incoming freshman Treasure Hunt, a five-star wing from Chattanooga, Tenn., who is close friends with Howard.
Not surprisingly, the SEC is well-represented in ESPN's rankings with five teams making the cut. South Carolina is ranked No. 1 and Mississippi State is No. 3. Also ranked are Texas A&M (18) and Arkansas (19). Louisville is ranked No. 6.
ESPN 2020-21 TOP 25
1. South Carolina
3. Mississippi State
8. N.C. State
13. Oregon State
14. Ohio State
16. Iowa State
18. Texas A&M
21. Notre Dame
24. Missouri State
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