Kentucky won two games last week and cracked the Top 10 in both the AP and Coaches Polls, but somehow, is No. 24 in the NET rankings, two spots lower than last week. What gives?
Undefeated San Diego State is still No. 1 in the NET, followed by Baylor, Gonzaga, Kansas, Dayton, Duke, Maryland, Arizona, Louisville, and West Virginia. Michigan State, which has lost six of its last ten games and hasn’t been ranked in weeks, is No. 12. Huh? You can see the entire rankings here.
As we do every Monday, let’s take a look at Kentucky’s team sheet, which the Selection Committee starting using to pick and seed teams a few years back. Each team’s wins are sorted into four quadrants using their opponent’s NET rankings:
- Quadrant 1: Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75
- Quadrant 2: Home 31-75; Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135
- Quadrant 3: Home 76-160; Neutral 101-200; Away 136-240
- Quadrant 4: Home 161-plus; Neutral 201-plus; Away 241-plus
Why does the NET hate UK so much?
The loss to Evansville certainly doesn’t help the Cats’ case. Kentucky’s average NET win (the average ranking of the opponents they’ve beaten) has improved to 131, but their average NET loss is still 89, the worst of any team in the top 39. Similarly, the Cats are the only team in the top 40 with a Quadrant 4 loss.
The NET also factors in offensive and defensive efficiency (Kentucky isn’t high in either of those metrics) and scoring margin, which is capped at ten points. While the Cats’ average scoring margin is +9.6 on the season, they’ve only beaten one Quadrant 1 or Quadrant 2 opponent by double digits, Tennessee back on Feb. 8. You know how Kentucky has struggled to extend its leads past the ten-point mark this season? It shows on their resume.
— South Carolina is up to No. 64, moving the loss to the Gamecocks in Columbia to Quad 1. That’s good.
— Kentucky’s Quadrant 1 record is now 5-3 with three opportunities for Q1 wins remaining: at LSU Tuesday, vs. Auburn at home on Feb. 29, and at Florida to end the regular season on March 7.
— Kansas has ten Quadrant 1 wins, the most of any team. Seton Hall and Baylor each have nine Q1 wins, followed by Butler with eight.
— Up for grabs this week: A Quad 1 win at LSU and a Quad 2 win at home vs. Florida. The Gators are currently ranked No. 35 in the NET, so if they can somehow move up five spots (they play Arkansas in Gainesville on Tuesday), that game moves to Quadrant 1.