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Arizona basketball: Wildcats nab No. 1 spot in Sports Illustrated’s 2017-18 preseason rankings

Another publication is high on the Wildcats for the 2017-18 season

Arizona v Oregon Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The college basketball season officially came to a close Monday, which means it’s now time to look toward the 2017-18 season.

And it should be a fun one in Tucson — at least that’s what several college basketball experts are predicting.

Recently, KenPom picked the Arizona Wildcats as its No. 2 team for the 2017-18 season while Sporting News tabbed Arizona at No. 1.

Now, Sports Illustrated has Arizona at No. 1 in its “Way-Too-Early” 2017-18 preseason rankings, too.

“Sophomore guard Allonzo Trier and 6’5” freshman Rawle Alkins should return and join the nation’s top freshman, 6’11” center DeAndre Ayton,” Seth Davis explained in SI’s article.

Here was Sporting News’ justification for its No. 1 ranking, if you missed it:

If the guys on the should-I-go-pro fence decide to return, Arizona is the clear Pac-12 favorite, and the Wildcats will stay atop this ranking when next fall rolls around. Will that happen, though? Hard to know. Either way, Sean Miller will have tons of talent on his roster; his top-five recruiting class includes the prospect some consider No. 1 in the country — big man DeAndre Ayton — and three more four-star players, power forward Ira Lee and guards Brandon Randolph and Alex Barcello.

The one thing that both of these rankings assume is that Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins are returning. While Alkins does seem likely to be back for another season, there seems to be a decent chance that Trier decides to go pro.

Meanwhile, Kobi Simmons is widely expected to head to the NBA, though it is not clear if these predictions take that into account or not.

Arizona also expects to add at least one more player to its recruiting class, so its roster for the upcoming season isn’t set yet, making these preseason rankings rather meaningless (especially since many other teams will undergo changes, too).

Still, seeing that the 2016-17 season didn’t quite end as well as Arizona fans had hoped, there’s at least next October to look forward to.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire