College Basketball Preview: Is Kentucky Still the Class of an Improving SEC?

Wildcats coach John Calipari has once again retooled his roster in Lexington. Will UK be able to fend off the competition in an improving conference?

Year in and year out, it seems like the SEC is Kentucky's to lose, even though they are essentially entering the season each fall with a roster of high school all stars. This is partially because of the talent they are able to bring in, but also in part due to a top-heavy conference with only a couple teams talented enough to hang with the Wildcats.

That may not be the case this season, with as many six teams that could give Kentucky a run for its money. While Kentucky leads the way, ranking fifth and fourth, respectively, in the AP and Coaches polls, there are another four teams in the top 31 of the rankings, including Florida, who received a first-place vote from the coaches.

Missouri and Alabama, two of the four teams hovering around the top 25, were able to lock in top-10 recruiting classes, with each getting a better recruit than Kentucky -- Michael Porter Jr. going to Missouri and Collin Sexton committing to Alabama.

All these factors should make the SEC more of a battle than we have been used to in years gone by.