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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Is a 1-seed possible?

Is Kentucky one of the 4 best teams in the country?  No.  And they likely won’t be at any point this season.  But, it is not out of the realm of possibility that UK could still gather a 1-seed come March.  It’s a longshot, I will admit.  But, it’s not as if Kentucky will need to go undefeated the rest of the year to get there.  Just play very, very well.

So, why is this even possible.  Well, Kentucky has several things going for it:
a. Good Non-Conference Wins (Washington, Notre Dame, Indiana, maybe Louisville)
b. No Bad Non-Conference Losses (UCONN and North Carolina)
c. Possibility of Gaudy Conference Record
d. Lack of Dominant Teams Nationally

Currently, Kentucky sits at 7 in the RPI.  With a win over Louisville, Kentucky will likely enter conference play in the Top 5 of the RPI.  Now, on paper, you would think that the weak SEC will hurt Kentucky’s RPI.  That is technically correct, but that is also assuming Kentucky loses a few games in conference.  If Kentucky is somehow able to pull off a 15-1 or 14-2 conference season, with a conference tournament title, the RPI won’t be hurt.  Plus, having the top non-conference schedule in the country will be HUGE come seeding time in March.

For comparisons sake, look at what 1-seeds had resume wise coming into the tournament the last few years

2010
Kansas (32-2, RPI: 1, 15-1 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)
Kentucky (32-2, RPI: 2, 14-2 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)
Duke (29-5, RPI: 3, 13-3 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)
Syracuse (28-4, RPI: 5, 15-3 conference record, Lost in Quarters of Conference Tournament)

2009
Pittsburgh (27-4, RPI: 2, 15-3 conference record, Lost in Quarters of Conference Tournament)
North Carolina (27-4, RPI: 3, 13-3 conference record, Lost in Semis of Conference Tournament)
Louisville (28-5, RPI: 4, 16-2 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)
UCONN (27-4, RPI: 8, 15-3 conference record, Lost in Quarters of Conference Tournament)

2008
North Carolina (34-2, RPI: 2, 14-2 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)
Memphis (35-1, RPI: 3, 16-0 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)
Kansas (32-3, RPI: 4, 13-3 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)
UCLA (32-3, RPI: 6, 16-2 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)

2007
Ohio State (30-3, RPI: 1, 15-1 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)
North Carolina (28-6, RPI: 3, 11-5 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)
Florida (29-5, RPI: 6, 13-3 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)
Kansas (30-4, RPI: 11, 14-2 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)

2006
Duke (30-3, RPI: 1, 14-2 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)
Villanova (25-4, RPI: 2, 14-2 conference record, Lost in Semis of Conference Tournament)
Memphis (30-3, RPI: 3, 13-1 conference record, Conference Tournament Champions)
UCONN (27-3, RPI: 4, 14-2 conference record, Lost in Quarters in Conference Tournament)

So, from what I can gather from the previous 5 years and the handing out of 1-seeds, there are 2 potential paths a team can take to feel comfortable come March (if you are not in the Big East):

1) A conference regular season record with 2 losses or less

2) Winning the conference tournament with 3 regular season conference losses

If Kentucky is somehow able to put together a 14-2 conference record, the SEC Tournament should not matter.  In fact, there has not been a team in the last 5 years to not receive a 1-seed after running through conference play with 2 or less losses.  That is for major conference teams only. 

Now, if Kentucky does happen to go 13-3 in conference play, a SEC Tournament win will almost surely be a must, especially with a weaker SEC.  Lose 4 games in conference play, and all this talk is for not. 

I throw the question to you: Is 14-2 a serious possibility for this Kentucky team?  And if that happens, will the Cats take another 1-seed in March?

Article written by Bryan the Intern