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How Will the SEC’s Strength (or Weakness) Impact Kentucky?

What started out as a hopeful hoops season for the nation’s greatest football conference has quickly soured into something even Kevin Stallings wouldn’t eat.  Once predicted (by Cal) to be a league worth seven bids, we now are looking at a group that’s more top-heavy than ever, and not at all deserving of getting half their number into the tournament.

CBS’ Jeff Goodman took a look last week at the league’s strength, and dropped some painful knowledge bombs on us Southeastern folks.  The top, with Florida (and hopefully Kentucky eventually), looks pretty solid.  The Gators look every inch like a Final Four team, and Playboy picked the Cats to repeat. So, there’s that.  But apart from the usual suspects, the rest of the league is bad.  Okay, that’s a little bit of an understatement; the rest of the league is awful.  Imagine playing in a fantasy football league where seven of the fourteen owners don’t check the schedule or change their lineups.  Yeah you can win, but do you really feel good about it?  That’s sort of the SEC right now.

Vanderbilt, last year’s SEC tournament champs (how cute), is 2-4 with losses to Marist, Davidson, Oregon, and Villanova.  Clearly Stallings can’t reload like Calipari can.  Frank Martin’s terrifying eyes have only scared South Carolina into a 5-3 mark, and Missouri lost one of it’s best players to suspension.  Oh, and unlike its former coach, Tennessee can’t seem to score over 40.

Alright, so we get it.  The SEC is bad.  But the important question is: how will that affect Kentucky?  There are really a few options here, and we won’t know what happens until the Cats get their feet wet in league play starting next month.  Until then, though, we’re free to speculate.

The first idea is that Kentucky loses a lot of games to a bad SEC and misses the tournament.  We’ll just skip past that one like Billy G skipped past the O’Doul’s.

The second two options both have Kentucky winning a lot of SEC games, to mixed results.  With the league in an overall state of ineptitude, it’s possible that Kentucky could pick up a nice record, like 12-4, or possibly even higher.  The tournament committee could look at that record, and a possible SEC tourney title, and award the Cats a nice, high seed for the postseason festivities.

OR, that same committee could look at that same nice SEC record, and take into account that Helen Keller’s School for the Blind probably could have gotten the same record, and hit us with Calipari’s lowest seed of his UK tenure.  It’s hard to get resume-building wins when nobody in your league is worthy of putting on a resume.

That’s what the SEC is presenting right now.  There really isn’t much ability to lose several games AND get a good seed, because every loss (except to Florida and maybe Mizzou) will look bad.  The only choice is to win, and win big, and hope that a solid record can overcome the lack of RPI in conference play.  Oh, and a win against Louisville would be pretty nice, too.

Article written by Corey Nichols

17 Comments for How Will the SEC’s Strength (or Weakness) Impact Kentucky?

  1. 5teamsin
    9:09 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    we will have 24 wins and 5 sec teams in the tourny

  2. 5teamsin
    9:12 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    ky fla vandy misso and bama

  3. Stevie Ray
    9:15 am December 10, 2012 Permalink


  4. Flicky Caps
    9:21 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    James Young opening night highlights

  5. CATS BY 90!
    9:27 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    Hey it worked for Louisville in football playing in a terrible conference, had some terrible unexpected losses and close games to terrible teams, yet still made it to the Sugar bowl….

  6. UK Snuggie
    9:41 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    This is horrible. Not only do you have several facts wrong in this “article” your jokes about BCG and Pearl are just low blows and aren’t even funny.

    Also #2, there is absolutely no way that Vandy makes the tournament. The only team in the SEC worse than they are is Mississippi State.

  7. theWilkman
    9:42 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    If it turns out as bad as it sounds, we’ll need a win over Louisville if we hope to have a decent seed.

  8. Bob Hughes
    9:55 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    Not sure if this is good or bad, but we actually have 18 SEC games this year so a 14-4 record would need a win over Louisville to help that resume, but the committee does a pretty good job of looking at the team is playing down the stretch. However, we know they will do everything they can to make the road as tough as possible for UK as they can. Cal will have this team ready regardless of the seed the tourney gives us. The Final Four team was a 4 seed with UNC and OSU in their region, but we overcame that when we should have been a 3 seed at worse that year, but they went with four and then put us with one of the top 2 #1 seeds. GO CATS!!!!

  9. dave
    10:00 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    Florida 0-0 7-0
    LSU 0-0 5-0
    Missouri 0-0 8-1
    Texas A&M 0-0 7-1
    Mississippi 0-0 6-1
    Alabama 0-0 6-2

    LSU is undefeated. Missouri has one loss. TA&M only one loss. Mississippi only one loss. Bama is a 2 loss team.

    Those aren’t wretched records.

    And no, they haven’t beat any really great teams either. But neither have Ohio State, Arizona, Kansas, Cinci, Creighton, New Mexico, UNLV, San Diego State, Wichita State or North Carolina State. All of those teams are ranked without having quality wins.

    Kentucky has defeated the same kinds of teams that all of those teams have defeated but lost to ranked teams excepting Baylor.

    Missouri is Top 15. UF is Top 10. Cal will get UK clicking and in the Top 15 by the end of the SEC. If they’re not ranked higher. Too much talent in both coach and athletes. Once Harrow comes on and someone steps up to be a leader, this team will click. The SEC will get NCAA Tourney bids.

    If San Diego State, Ohio State and Cinci are all Top 20 then so are LSU and Texas A&M.

  10. RealCatsFan
    10:06 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    No matter how badly these SEC teams might play against out-of-conference competition, you can rest assured when Kentucky plays them on the road, they will have a rowdy, packed house, and the players for the opposing team will play several levels above the usual effort. As Cal famously said, we are “everybody’s Superbowl”, and nowhere is that more true than for SEC road games. The frustrating thing about this is at the end of the season all the selection committee will see is the W/L record and the final score – they will not factor in the home court factor in those games. True, this is the situation for most teams, but few teams will have as large a target on their back as the defending national champions.

  11. RealCatsFan
    10:08 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    #8, yes, I vividly recall that dry screwing the NCAA selection committee gave us that year, and the 2-seed that they gave Florida, even though we had beaten them twice.

  12. Big Whoop
    10:45 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    While you pointed out that South Carolina under first year coach Frank Martin is 5-3, you fail to point out that UK is 6-3. #10 gets it. We may be a Sweet Sixteen team if we improve a little and may be an Elite Eight team if we improve a lot. I just don’t see a Final Four team here this year. I’m okay with a rebuilding year because we will be the 2014 National Champs. This year is a small price to pay.

  13. smoke and mirrors
    10:47 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    Not this team,not this year. Maybe sweet sixteen,nor farther. Just wait til next year!!!

  14. Smiley Pete
    10:57 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    We play an 18 game sec schedule. I won’t mention the other factual errors because they seem to have been mentioned above

  15. bart edwards
    11:07 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    Corey this post contains many errors and was not well thought out. Several more SEC teams are playing well, and will continue to develop.
    All you have to do is win a bunch of games. Last year Syracuse never played ANY top ten teams before the tourney, and got a one seed. Our 2010 team never won ANY games against a top ten team and got a one seed. In both cases, of course (UK and Syracuse), the first top ten team each squad played was in the NCAA tournament, and in both cases UK and Syracuse got beaten — by the ONLY top ten team each played all year.

  16. Jughead
    11:21 am December 10, 2012 Permalink

    I see Auburn in the Final 4.

  17. VandyFan
    12:17 pm December 10, 2012 Permalink

    Vandy is actually 3-4, but still awful.
    UK will be fine in conference play. Harrow is back and on the uptick and the team has a month to gel before starting conference play with an easy game against Vandy. I’m not sure why everyone is freaking out so much over 3 early losses, especially when at least 2 of them are def quality losses. This team will have a better SEC record than the 4-seed Brandon Knight-Josh Harrellson team.