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Kentucky basketball: Are Cats on the NCAA Tournament bubble?


This Kentucky basketball team has a little momentum right now.

First, a 23-point win over rivals Louisville on Saturday afternoon. Second, positive performance — although Turned into nail biting — against Louisiana State University on Tuesday night.

Ratings may vary 74-71 win over LSU The win at Rupp Arena felt like the Wildcats’ biggest win of the season so far. But that doesn’t say much, and the ratings certainly reflect that point.

Great Britain (10-4 in the Southeastern Conference, 1-1 in the Southeastern Conference) is ranked fourth in the nation to start the 2022-23 campaign. One game — but the Cats now find themselves clinging to the NCAA Tournament conversation spot. Without the name on the front of the jersey, Kentucky might be looking from the outside. An unthinkable idea given the preseason expectations of this Wildcats team.

Enter Tuesday’s game ESPN had the Cats as the No. 8 seedThe latest updates to the Bracketville website have been placed Kentucky as No. 9 seedLatest UK score for . bracket matrix sight — Synthesis of dozens of tournament projections — The Wildcats are listed as the 8th seed.

It’s not the “bubble” zone of NCAA tournament talk. But it’s not far from there either.

Also, Kentucky’s actual NCAA tournament résumé is scarce.

Greatest England win to date, according to the NCAA’s internal scoring system? Bulldogs he was 58th. NCAA NET Rating In Wednesday’s update, Kentucky has not beaten a highly ranked team this season.

judging a uk resume NCAA “Quadrant System” It shows how much work the Cats still have to do to establish themselves as a tournament team.

According to the recent selection process, and wording on the NCAA’s own website, Quadrant 1 wins will be “incredibly important” in determining overall team status. Kentucky has been terrible in that regard this season.

The Cats played the toughest three quad-one games on the schedule, according to the NCAA’s system, but lost all three by double-digit margins. Britain has played quad two games three times and the Cats have two wins (Yale and Michigan) and one loss (Michigan State) in those matchups. As important as Tuesday night seemed, LSU’s win was shuffled into the Quad 3 category by Wednesday morning, and the Tigers’ NET rating fell overnight from No. 75 to his No. 79, at least these for the purposes of sorting, its win value has been devalued.

Kentucky’s own NET rating is #38. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s not particularly good either. Utah and Auburn are rated higher than the Cats and he is the only two teams that have never won against Quad 1 opponents and those teams have yet to play a game like that .

LEX_45_230103 Kentucky LSUBasketball_rhA.JPG
John Calipari’s Kentucky team started the season projected as the No. 1 seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. That outlook has changed.Ryan C. Hermens

Kentucky convention resume

What comes next is a double-edged sword for John Calipari and the Wildcats.

On the one hand, there are more games that could restore the outside belief that this Kentucky team could actually be a national contender. And in the Cats’ three previous Quad 1 matchups, there hasn’t been much to build confidence that they can do it.

However, Calipari says the team is on the road to improvement, and his recent statements about its effectiveness will be put to the test in the coming weeks. One of the biggest is Saturday afternoon.

Great Britain traveled to Tuscaloosa to face an Alabama team ranked 7th in the AP Poll (top in the Southeastern Conference) and 8th in NET Ratings, giving the Cats a chance at a Quad 1 win.

In total, there are currently eight games left on the UK schedule. Qualify as a Quad 1 Matchupand five upcoming games that fall into the Quad 2 category.

Here are 13 opportunities — 8 of them Selection subject Opportunity — Opportunity to rewrite this season’s narrative, and the Gauntlet kicks off this weekend.

Kentucky is taking a little break from now on. Remaining games in Quad 1: Alabama on Saturday, Tennessee on Jan. 14, Rupp Kansas on Jan. 28, Rupp on Arkansas on Feb. 7, Mississippi on Feb. 15, Rupp on Feb. 18. Tennessee, Florida on February 22 and Arkansas on March 4 (the Cats’ home game against Auburn on February 25 will also be an easy quad-one game before the final ratings are set). may become).

To paraphrase Calipari’s well-worn line about players shooting, the Cats don’t have to win them all. But they can’t lose everything. And to rediscover some of that preseason boast and return to his list of NCAA Tournament seedings, he’ll need to come out on top in at least a few of the biggest games remaining.

Louisville and LSU were small steps in the right direction. The road is harder now, and the more failures Britain makes moving forward, the less room for error he has from now to avoid his NCAA bubble two months from now.

“We’re still learning about this team. I am,” Calipari said Tuesday night. “Just be patient. Again, I want to tell everyone. …

“I’m impatient too,” admitted the coach. I mean, the next game we play, that’s all I’m worried about… Alabama. I know, and it’s great, let’s go, let’s see where we are.

next game

No. 7 Kentucky in Alabama

when: 1 p.m. Saturday

tv set: ESPN

wireless: WLAP-AM630, WBUL-FM98.1

record: Kentucky 10-4 (1-1 SEC), Alabama 12-2 (2-0)

series: Kentucky leads 116-40

Final meeting: Kentucky won 90-81 in Lexington on February 19, 2022.

Ben Roberts is a University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Beat Writer for the Lexington Herald Leader. He previously specialized in UK basketball recruitment coverage and created and maintained the Next Cats blog. He is from Franklin County and first joined his Herald-Leader in 2006.
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