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Lunardi’s Bracketology Leaves UK Out in the Cold

May or may not be Joe’s strategy. Also, note the “Go Wildcats” in the upper-left corner.

In not so surprising news, ESPN’s reigning NCAA Bracket expert (a job that seems much harder after Matt’s committee experience) Joe Lunardi says that Kentucky isn’t on his list of tournament teams for next month.  Lunardi had some insight to share on the Wildcats’ fate during a televised game last night on the Worldwide Leader:

“I think you have to leave them out until we see a sustained level of play without [Noel].”

Having only played one game sans the big man, it’s pretty evident that we need to see a higher level of performance than what we saw Saturday.  With no improvement, the Cats’ chances look grim, at best.  “The only data point we have right now is a 30-point loss against Tennessee, a so-so team in the SEC. So when I look at Kentucky I’m saying, not that the first 24 games don’t matter, but they may not matter in the eyes of several committee members.”

So what exactly will it it take for Kentucky to punch their own ticket to the dance?  With big games against Missouri and Florida left, both at home, they certainly have their work cut out for them.  Winning either of those would provide one more signature win to go with Ole Miss, and alleviate a lot of pressure.  More than two losses, though, might seal the fate of a team that’s already dropped eight.

Lunardi agrees: “They’re going to have to win an up game or two and avoid bad losses and show some sustained level of good play. Not great play because they weren’t a great team to begin with. We’re not talking about dropping a No. 1 seed, we’re talking a team that was maybe a 10 or an 11, so that’s why it’s such a tenuous spot for the Cats.”

We’ll see if “pedestrian” wins against Vandy, Mississippi state, Georgia, and Arkansas will be enough if the Cats can only pick up those games.  And that one at Arkansas might be a little tougher than they’d like, since the Razorbacks have one of the tougher home arenas to play in.

Essentially, what Lunardi is saying in all this, and what most seem to agree on, is that the Wildcats have a new seven-game season, of which six games are left.  You’ve got six games with your new team to earn a spot to the tourney.  It’s up to them to respond.

What a difference a year makes.

Article written by Corey Nichols

28 Comments for Lunardi’s Bracketology Leaves UK Out in the Cold



  1. el portr
    9:03 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    First! I hate Michael Porter



  2. The Oval Office
    9:07 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Why wouldn’t he? I’m a UK fan but look at our team’s resume.



  3. kramer
    9:09 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    I agree why would UK be in NCAA tournament, as of right now they are a mess. Unless there is a significant turnaround in the next 3 weeks, we will just have to try again next year.



  4. Dude
    9:13 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Win 4 out of the next 6 and 1 or more SEC games and theyre in. Also I think it BS that they were just ranked in the top 25 a week ago have lost to Fla and Ut since and already OUT of the tournament, wtf?



  5. Mike
    9:21 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    This year’s edition of UK BB continues to plummet on the national stage to lows most of us haven’t experienced before. It is possible that the bar will continue to lowered and guess we won’t know until we see what is exposed Wednesday night. Has there EVER been a team that has had so many all americans that have produced so badly?



  6. Rixter
    9:24 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    The way we played Saturday, I don’t see how we win another game. Why would you even consider a team with 8 straight losses in the tournament??



  7. Coach Jamin
    9:24 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    “Win 4 out of the next 6 and 1 or more SEC games and theyre in. Also I think it BS that they were just ranked in the top 25 a week ago have lost to Fla and Ut since and already OUT of the tournament, wtf?”

    Think about it. This team was ranked 25 before the UF and UT losses. They were on a 5 game win streak, Noel was playing his best ball of the season, and things were looking up. Noel went down. We were blown out by UF… even with Noel on the floor for the better part of the game. We were humiliated at UT by 30 points (and it should have been worse). The team is in disarray with 0 sustained leadership, no point guard play, no rebounding, no defense, and sketchy shooting. Take off the blue colored glasses. If you had to look at the way this team is playing, solely based on the last 2 games and you had no idea it was Kentucky, would you put them in the tournament? I’m as big of a UK fan as it gets, in all sports. But as of right now, they would not be in. I hope that changes. I hope Goodwin and Poythress remove their craniums from their butt cheeks. I hope Harrow sees Polson and says, hey I can do this and actually does. I hope Wiltjer decides to move his feet on defense and take every open 3 that comes his way. I hope WCS becomes inspired to play like Noel was playing. You can poop in one hand and hope in the other and see where it gets you though.



  8. Steve
    9:25 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Any Kentucky fan knows as of today we ain’t in the tournament.



  9. Flippy23
    9:27 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Does anyone really think these guys can win AT Arkansas ??? Seriously ??? Nah, it’s time we put away our optimism about this years squad and just accept them for what they are, a group of young men that never really reached their collective or individual potential. They will be the team Cal blames all of his gray hair on one of these days, the team that just never gelled…..They are what they are, a thin, disfunctional, under-performing collection of NBA-caliber talent that never really got what UK basketball is all about. Next year should be better, but if this year’s team has taught me anything it’s not to get too excited about freshmen….regardless of WHAT they did in high school……



  10. willie cauley-stein
    9:29 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    is it football season yet? that’s the show that everybody is waiting for. and I personally can’t wait to catch some back shoulder fades in this air raid!



  11. RealCatsFan
    9:31 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Yes, we are bad, but it makes me wonder if they would still be saying this if UK had snuck out a victory against Louisville or Duke early in the season. Even if they had that “quality win” on their resume back then, would it just get tossed out by the Selection Committee after the injury to Nerlens? I haven’t completely given up on this team, but if they drop the Vandy game tomorrow night, I guess it will be time to do just that.

    IMO, the most glaring thing about this team is the fact that they play lousy defense. Up until this point, Cal has had a few teams that at times struggled on offense, but you could always count on them to play good defense. Yes, we are lacking a MKG or Liggins to lock down a player, but the guards on this team seem to be content to allow their opponents to blow right by them. I’m not buying the talent argument – Harrow and Goodwin are PLENTY quick enough to stay between a defender and the basket. Look at Hulls from IU – is he more talented than these guys? Bullsh!t. It’s about pride and desire to stop your man. Plain and simple.



  12. Al's IndiCats
    9:32 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    You know being a Cats fan you take the bad as well as the good, well…..this team’s pretty bad. Cal’s been knocking it out of the park since he’s been here and I think we all kinda knew this year could be somewhat of a test. Cal said it best when he said some guys on this team are just uncoachable. No one saw this coming, including the coaches. If we’re going to lose, I’d rather see the walkons start and let AG AP and RH sit the bench for the rest of the season.
    #5 Mike we have experienced this before…..it was The Billy Clyde experiment, but I’m not hanging this year on Cal, because you can teach and teach, but if their not willing to learn you’re just wasting your time and effort……GO CATS!!!!!!



  13. True Blue Fan
    9:36 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    I never thought it would get so bad with Cal as coach at UK. Going to the Final Four that UK plays in is a dream and after this season, I will be going to the next one we’re in after seeing how ugly it can get after back to back Final Four appearances. It almost seems certain we should be in Dallas next year, but the reality is you never know what’s going to happen, hence Noel’s injury.

    I will not give up on these Cats this year. Maybe the rest of the regular season games are needed to help us get a flow going without Noel and we could possibly win the SEC tournament. I will not count out these Cats until Selection Sunday if we’re not picked.



  14. UKBlue
    9:38 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    1. We haven’t played good enough & frankly we aren’t good enough to be in the tournament. 2. At this point why would we want to be in the tournament just to get beat early? 3. Apparently our players don’t want to be play in the tournament because they sure don’t act like it, and their lack of apparently even caring shouldn’t be rewarded. 4. Why in the world would we want to extend this disaster longer than needed?



  15. SteveM
    9:44 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    #14 has it correct: “why in the world would we want to continue this disaster any longer?”



  16. JustSayin
    9:48 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Until something dramatically changes I would vote that these blog topics be left out of our consumption. We know we are not in as of now, that is obvious. That is like picking at your own scab.



  17. Bubba Earl
    9:53 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    And deservedly so!



  18. Nah!
    10:01 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    What’s dramatically going to change in the next 6 games? Bottomline is: We just suck. We were bad before Nerlens went down and now we are worse. Accept and move on…



  19. TJ
    10:11 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    I just want next year to arrive asap…



  20. Bluegrass
    10:13 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    We’re not making the tourney – AND even if we did we will lose in the 1st or 2nd round (and that will happen in either the NIT or NCAA tourney). Either way, I’ve lost all joy for the year, unfortunately.



  21. Bluegrass
    10:23 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    How quiet and awkward will the mood be in Rupp if we go down early in the game?



  22. Just Saying
    10:25 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Rumor has it Mindy McCready was a UK fan – too soon?



  23. Viren
    10:53 am February 19, 2013 Permalink

    I have got a great idea. How about our local networks in Kentucky re-run the road to our #8. I bet it will draw more viewers than the actual games from this year’s NCAA Tournament. I would love to see re-run of all 6 games. I have already watched them again on the youtube I believe outside of the WKU games all five are on there in its entirety minus the commercials. :-]



  24. 3cats
    12:24 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Let’s see Baylor / last 12 games 7-5 in. yes, I know they beat us! Cal, 16-9 Nova 17-10 Az st 19-7 Virgina 18-7 UNC in 16-8 cannot leave them out! UCLA in. Yelp! UK not in the dance….. We’re bad, but many other teams that also suck! But hey we’re Kentucky if we get beat something is going on.Also, another way to stick it to coach Cal!



  25. kingrex
    1:14 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    I do not want this team to make the tournament. I wanted it for Noel, but now it is just ridiculous. This is not even a serviceable basketball team. I am not mad at them, but continuing to breakdown their chances seems almost cruel. They will lose Thursday in the SEC Tourney and I believe will not accomplish enough before then to get an invite, but if they did they would lose their first game. Without Noel every weakness is exposed. A big swing and a miss this year. It is not that I do not believe in Cal, but even he is going to have an off year.



  26. Questioning?
    1:15 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    If a team has a .500 or below record in it’s conf., I dont think they deserve a spot in the Tournament. I don’t care how tough their conf. is or their “body of work”. What do you think?



  27. giveme96
    1:58 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Lunardi also dressed as Benjamin Franklin for President’s Day. Anything he says is now invalid.



  28. Red Bird
    2:19 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    They don’t deserve to be in, beat Florida, Mizzou and make some noise in the SEC tournament and go to the championship game, then talk to me.