College basketball rankings: Kentucky moves up in Top 25 And 1 after Olivier Sarr is cleared to play

When the NCAA Division I Council voted last week to give all winter student-athletes an extra year of eligibility, I explained why that development cleared the way for the SEC to grant Olivier Sarr a waiver to play immediately at Kentucky.

On Wednesday, UK announced, Sarr has received a waiver.

So now the 7-foot, 255-pound forward from France who averaged 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game last season at Wake Forest is officially eligible at Kentucky — as is Rhode Island transfer Jacob Toppin. That’ll give John Calipari two experienced pieces to pair with his latest heralded recruiting class. As a result, his Wildcats are up to No. 13 in Version 27.0 of the 2020-21 CBS Sports Top 25 And 1.

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As has been the case since Version 1.0 of the Top 25 And 1, Gonzaga remains No. 1 based on the idea that the Zags are returning four players who averaged at least 14 minutes per game for a team that finished 31-2 last season, and they’re pairing them with a top-15 recruiting class highlighted by five-star guard Jalen Suggs. Oumar Ballo, a four-star center from the Class of 2019 who redshirted last season, is another quality addition who provides options in the frontcourt. So even though it would’ve been better if Filip Petrusev had withdrawn from the 2020 NBA Draft like teammates Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi, Mark Few remains in a position to guide Gonzaga to its first national title.

Would I listen to arguments for other teams?

Of course!

It’s reasonable for somebody else to have Baylor, Villanova, Virginia, Iowa, Illinois or Kansas No. 1 for various reasons. In other words, heading into this season, there will be no consensus top-ranked team. Which is fine. And fun. And why the road to the 2021 NCAA Tournament should be equal parts entertaining and unpredictable.

For the purposes of these rankings, I assume all traditional sit-out transfers will be forced to sit out until they receive a waiver to play immediately. Whenever rosters need to be adjusted, I’ll adjust just like always — and the rankings could change. But, for now, this is the Top 25 And 1. And because people constantly ask about the schools that just missed the cut, I’m compelled to tell you that if this were the Top 35 And 1, the next 10 teams listed would be Florida State (27), Alabama (28), Florida (29), Louisville (30), Arkansas (31), Saint Louis (32), Oklahoma State (33), Stanford (34), Purdue (35) and UConn (36).

Updated Top 25 And 1 rankings

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Gonzaga’s roster took a hit when Filip Petrusev decided to forgo his final two years of eligibility to pursue a professional opportunity overseas. But the Zags are still loaded
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