Kernel Sports predicts 2022 college basketball seasons


Michael Clubb

Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) hypes up the crowd during the UK vs. Vanderbilt SEC Tournament quarterfinals mens basketball game on Friday, March 11, 2022, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. UK won 77-71. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Cole Parke, Ali Cetinok, and Samantha Money

With a new season on the horizon and Kentucky’s two basketball programs in very different positions, speculation is running rampant as to how either team will do.

Here at the Kernel that is no different.

On the sports desk, all three editors are passionate sports fans and rife with opinions of their own when it comes to Kentucky’s programs.
With the womens team looking to reinvent itself after a roller coaster of a season and the mens team hoping to bounce back after a crushing tournament defeat, nobody is certain how the 2022-2023 season will go, but everyone has thoughts.

Here’s ours:


How good will the womens basketball team be in the 2022-2023 season?

Cole Parke, sports editor: “Don’t expect the Wildcats to win back-to-back SEC titles. I simply don’t see it happening this year. The Wildcats have plenty of talent on the roster, but only five of them have ever played together prior to the offseason practices and scrimmages and that is always difficult for teams to overcome. Do I think Kentucky will make the NCAA Tournament? Yes. Do I think it’ll be anything higher than a No. 6 seed? No, but that’s okay. Expect this to be a rebuilding year for womens basketball and one where the team looks to come to terms with its identity and what it really wants to be.”

Samantha Money, assistant sports editor: “The absence of a leader like Rhyne Howard will no doubt be missed on the team this year, but I think the potential of having a successful season is definitely there. The return of Blair Greene from injury will be a huge asset both on and off the court, helping with making baskets and being a leader to the ten new players. I see this team blending well, but it will take time to reach a level that is capable of another SEC tournament.”

Ali Cetinok, assistant sports editor: “Last season’s SEC Tournament win was something that will not happen again this season for the Cats. With only five returning players from last year’s squad, I expect a lot of growing pains for this team. Exciting new faces will bring a sense of change in the building, but not much will change from a result standpoint. This team will be largely the same as last year’s squad: a middle-of-the-pack SEC team that isn’t spectacular or horrible. I see this team being seventh in the SEC regular season standings.”

What is the key to the success of the womens basketball team?

Parke: “Chemistry. When you have a roster of 15 players with only five returners, chemistry is the biggest concern. Many of these transfer players like Maddie Scherr from Oregon are used to very different systems and playing with other athletes with different playstyles. It is going to take some time for this team to mesh. Theoretically if the players mesh quickly this could be a good basketball team, but that is a big if.”

Money: “There is talent and experience from the new players coming in, but it’s going to be how they blend that talent with the returners on the court. I think Green is more than capable of successfully being that leader on the team, but even she has been out for a year and is going to have to find her footing.”

Cetinok: “Experience from Kentucky’s transfer players such as Scherr, SEC transfers Eniya Russell and Ajae Petty and Adebola Adeyeye from Buffalo will add much needed experience to this squad. Freshman Cassidy Rowe will also be someone to watch for Kentucky this season.”


How will the mens basketball team be in the 2022-2023 season?

Parke: “Perhaps I’m buying into the hype too much, but it’s hard to imagine anything less than a national championship being disappointing for this team. With how much talent the team returns, including the consensus national player of the year, and how much talent it has brought in, the sky’s the limit for Kentucky. The goal is clear and the players seem to understand it: bring a ninth national title to Lexington.”

Money: “I have high hopes for this season because of the wide variety of talent that each player brings to the court. This team is hungry for a trophy this year and, as seen with the majority of Kentucky teams, it is very capable of achieving that goal. It just comes down to handling that pressure, but the returners this year are not going to let that be their demise again.”

Cetinok: ‘What is a good season for Kentucky? Does an Elite Eight appearance count as a great season or bad one? Realistically, this team should win, not just the SEC, but a national championship as well. The talent coming into Lexington is not anything new and will not stop anytime soon, but with the Saint Peter’s loss last season still fresh in the minds of many Big Blue Nation, fans want to see a good college basketball team, not an NBA Factory with weak mentalities when it comes to actually winning.”

What is the key to the success of the mens basketball team?

Parke: “Offense. I think the only thing that may hold this mens team back is the offense, which is weird to say based on how much talent it has. That said, watching the exhibition against Missouri Western State and the Blue-White game in Pikeville, it’s clear that there will be dry spells for this team. Ideally the more the team plays together then the more the players would get comfortable and the offensive production would pick up but until that happens there may be some bumpy games to start the season.”

Money: “It’s rare that such a blend of veterans and freshmen come together for Kentucky basketball, but it only serves to benefit the Cats. Calipari mentioned how much faster things go at practice and how he doesn’t have to teach new drills to the new players. This leaves lots of room to really get into the game and I think that this year’s team has the balance needed to make it far.”

Cetinok: “Scoring is something that will need to improve in order to get back where Kentucky wants itself to be at. Experience from some of the older guys paired with new talent should be exciting to watch at Rupp Arena and it will be interesting to see if the two different aspects of the team will mesh together or if there will be growing pains for the team.”