Kentucky Basketball: Updated Postseason Resume and Projections

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With a 79-76 win at LSU last night, Kentucky basketball has the inside track to winning their first SEC title since completing their conference championship three-peat from 2015-17. The Wildcats are now 1.5 games up on Auburn in the conference standings, two games ahead of Florida and LSU.

They also have three games left against the top league title contenders so they won’t really need any help in order to close the conference title deal and restore their SEC complete hegemony. Of course, it won’t be easy, to say the least.

“The guys here, the one thing they learn at Kentucky is to fight because everybody is playing us like that team played us,” Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari said after last weekend’s win over Ole Miss.

john calipari

“If you don’t learn to fight, you’ve got to go somewhere — it ain’t working. And the guys that learn to fight, they go from here, and all of a sudden everybody is talking about it.”

Like any team, the Kentucky Wildcats have had plenty of ups and downs this season, with some great wins and a couple bad losses. What’s really unique about UK though is their ability to win ugly when needed. This month has seen the Cats sometimes barely show up for a first half of a game,  but then dominate the second half of that same game.

In the end, all Ws count the same.

“I’ll say it again, these kids are not computers and they’re not robots,” Calipari continued.

“This is not a fantasy league, this is not on a computer. This is real stuff. They don’t play great every night. But you can play to win. You don’t have to play great every night, and you can get pushed around for three quarters of the game, but the last part of the game you play to win.”

So with that mind, and Selection Sunday less than a month away now, let’s take a look at the Cats postseason resume and project where they might be seeded come March.

Kentucky Basketball Metrics: 21-5, 11-2 in the SEC, Net #24, AP #10, Coaches #10, KenPom #30

Real Time RPI shows the Cats with a RPI 23, SoS 85 and their GAMER projection says a 24-7 (14-4). Also, their website looks like they haven’t updated the design since the internet was still known as ARPANET only existed within the Department of Defense

Kentucky Basketball Key Wins:

Louisville (Net 9), @ Texas Tech (Net 21), Michigan State (Net 12), @ LSU (Net 29), Alabama (Net 36)  @Arkansas (Net 48) UK has some quality road wins, which are always tough to come by, so the committee will definitely be impressed by this component of their resume.

Kentucky Basketball Bad Losses:

Utah  (Net 82), Evansville (Net 252)

Remember how Earth shattering it was that the Purple Aces won at Rupp Arena early on? This is why- look at that number, and take heed of what an anchor that L is in holding the Wildcats resume down.

Synopsis of Remaining Schedule

To be a truly blue blood resume indicative of big blue, this resume certainly needs some polishing up. That shouldn’t be a problem as several opportunities remain for quality wins. Their chief rival for SEC supremacy, historically, is Florida (net 36) and both games against the Gators are still upcoming.

There is also the rematch against Auburn, who are ranked #25 in Net, but #13 in the polls. Told ya’ll the media is way too soft on Bruce Pearl.

 Postseason Projections

ESPN Bracketology #4 seed, SB Nation #5 seed, CBS #5 seed, USA Today #4 seed

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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