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Arizona basketball: Wildcats ranked second in KenPom’s 2018 Preseason Top 10

Pomeroy is assuming Arizona is only losing Lauri Markkanen to the NBA Draft

St. Mary's v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats have played their way into the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in five seasons, and, according to one college basketball guru, they will have a good chance at reaching another Sweet 16 in 2018.

Ken Pomeroy of the renowned basketball analytics website has the Wildcats ranked No. 2 in his 2018 preseason top 10.

His rationale?

Lauri Markkanen won’t be back in Tucson, but this prediction assumes the likes of Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins will return,” Pomeroy writes. “The Cats also add seven-foot freshman DeAndre Ayton to the fold. There are a few other things that could happen in the coming weeks that would boost Arizona to #1.”

Obviously the caveat in Pomeroy’s prediction is that he is assuming Trier will be returning for his junior season, even though that does not seem like something someone should safely assume at this point.

He also assumes Alkins is returning and Markkanen is leaving, which seem to be safer bets.

As it stands now, the Wildcats have signed four recruits in their 2017 class, a class which ranks third nationally.

Sean Miller said in March that he expects Arizona to add at least one more player to the class — maybe even two — which could push UA up to No. 1 in Pomeroy’s rankings as he mentioned.

Given Pomeroy’s assumptions, Arizona’s depth chart would look something like this heading into next season (not counting any potential additions):

PG: Parker Jackson-Cartwright / Dylan Smith / Alex Barcello

SG: Allonzo Trier / Kobi Simmons

SF: Rawle Alkins / Brandon Randolph

PF: DeAndre Ayton / Ira Lee / Keanu Pinder

C: Dusan Ristic / Chance Comanche

The order and whatnot can be argued, but as a whole that looks like it will be a team that can live up to Pomeroy’s expectations.

Still, a lot can happen between now and then (injuries, transfers, NBA draft declarations, etc.) so it’s obviously too early to be sure.

And with Arizona’s current team being in the Sweet 16, there’s also no real reason to focus on that just yet.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire