Wins are of the utmost importance for Kentucky Basketball right now. Sitting at 5-10 overall, 4-4 in the SEC, losing four of the last five games, Kentucky HAS to win at least eight more games to make the tournament as an at-large bid.
Would a win over fifth-ranked Texas have gone a long way? Certainly, and on paper, fewer chances to win games isn’t going to help make the case for Kentucky basketball. Jack Pilgrim hits all these good points on what will be a difficult road up ahead for the ‘Cats. If you didn’t read his take, you can check it out below.
But, as the old saying goes, numbers never lie, and after a close loss to Alabama and a canceled game against Texas, Kentucky’s tournament chances have actually slightly improved.
A week ago, Kentucky had just a 25.4% chance to make the big dance–2.5% for an automatic bid while an at-large 22.9%. (Teamrankings.com) Now, the Cats currently have a 36.8% chance to make the tournament and the at-large bid has jumped up to 32.9% while the automatic bid bumped up to a measly 3.8%.
According to KenPom, a week ago Kentucky was sitting at 59th in the country, but now they sit at 53rd–their highest-rank in Kenpom since they beat Florida earlier this month.
Now the bad news.
Kentucky pretty much HAS to win 13 games to even think about an at-large bid. The odds between 13 and 12 wins are drastic.
If Kentucky were to win seven of their remaining nine games they would have only better than a coin-flip at making the NCAA Tournament at 56.8%. If they win eight it jumps all the way to 95.5%. Anything fewer than seven wins? Well pony-up for the SEC Tournament. If Kentucky only wins six games, it has a 5.8% chance to make the Round-of-64 in that scenario.
Not to mention KenPom only projects five more wins for Kentucky the rest of the way, settling the Cats at a 10-14 record.
The numbers may have improved, but don’t get it twisted, Kentucky has to be near perfect for an at-large bid.