Pat Forde is making the rounds at the SEC Tournament, emanating Kentucky hate and making babies cry (not really…well, probably). Last night, Forde wrote a recap of the Arkansas/Vandy game, which ultimately turned into a rant about Kentucky’s current bubble position. Here’s a shocker: Forde doesn’t think they should be ranked as high as they are in the RPI and should only be judged on their performance without Nerlens Noel.
The bad news for the Wildcats is that a loss to Vandy would likely doom Kentucky’s NCAA tourney hopes.
But we’re really all just guessing how the selection committee will appraise Kentucky, which lost center Nerlens Noel a month ago. Since then the Cats are 4-3 — undefeated at home but winless on the road.
In an attempt to get a grasp on where post-Noel Kentucky really should rank, I asked numbers guru Ken Pomeroy if he could run his stats on the Wildcats’ seven games without him. He didn’t have time for that, but estimated Kentucky would rank “in the 60-80 range.” They’re currently 37th in his rankings, which incorporate the entire season.
The 60-80 range is not a good range to be in for a team aspiring to defend an NCAA title. And it certainly would make the Vanderbilt game must-win.
Would we really expect anything less?