Kentucky still has major work to do to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive, but Saturday’s win vs. LSU was a good start. After the 82-69 win over the Tigers, the Cats’ NET ranking rose from No. 95 to No. 82, which is ninth best in the SEC:
9. Alabama (13-3)
11. Tennessee (10-3)
23. Missouri (10-2)
26. Florida (8-4)
33. Arkansas (12-4)
35. LSU (10-4)
64. Auburn (9-7)
65. Ole Miss (8-6)
82. Kentucky (5-9)
92. Mississippi State (9-7)
101. Georgia (8-5)
110. South Carolina (3-5)
136. Texas A&M (7-6)
185. Vanderbilt (4-7)
It may be a fruitless exercise at this point, but every Monday from now until Selection Sunday, I will break down Kentucky’s team sheet, which the Selection Committee will use to decide whether or not the Cats deserve an NCAA Tournament bid. This year, the NCAA tweaked the NET formula to focus only on two metrics: Team Value Index, a results-based feature that rewards teams for beating quality opponents, particularly away from home; and efficiency, which is adjusted for strength of opponent and location (home/away/neutral) across all games played. Winning percentage, adjusted winning percentage, and scoring margin are no longer factors. Also, with teams playing home games with limited or no fans, the committee and staff is also studying home-court advantage.
Here is Kentucky’s team sheet as of today, January 25.
Quad 1: 1-4
Home: 1-30, Neutral: 1-50, Away: 1-75
|19||12/01/2020||Kansas (@ Indianapolis, IN)||L 62-65|
|26||01/09/2021||@ Florida||W 76-58|
|42||12/26/2020||@ Louisville||L 59-62|
|64||01/16/2021||@ Auburn||L 59-66|
|65||03/02/2021||@ Ole Miss|
Quad 2: 2-4
Home: 31-75, Neutral: 51-100, Away: 76-135
|51||12/19/2020||North Carolina (@ Cleveland, OH)||L 63-75|
|56||12/06/2020||Georgia Tech (@ Atlanta, GA)||L 62-79|
|92||01/02/2021||@ Mississippi St.||W 78-73 (2 OT)|
|101||01/20/2021||@ Georgia||L 62-63|
Quad 3: 0-1
Home: 76-160, Neutral: 101-200, Away: 136-240
|96||12/12/2020||Notre Dame||L 63-64|
Quad 4: 2-0
Home: 161-357, Neutral: 201-357, Away: 241-357
|191||11/25/2020||Morehead St.||W 81-45|
— Unfortunately, LSU’s NET ranking dropped to No. 35, pushing Saturday night’s win to Quad 2. Right now, Kentucky only has one Quad 1 win, at Florida, so we need to root for the Tigers to do well to bump that victory back up.
— Tennessee’s two-game losing streak dropped the Vols from No. 4 in the NET rankings (Jan. 18) to No. 11, which makes tomorrow night’s game at Alabama the biggest prize left on the table. Saturday’s game vs. No. 10 Texas at Rupp Arena is also huge.
— Florida and Ole Miss’ wins last week improved their NET rankings so that the Feb. 26 home game vs. the Gators and the March 2 season finale in Oxford are now in Quad 1. That’s good.
— Eighty-second may not seem that high, but it is Kentucky’s highest spot in the NET rankings this year.
— If you’re curious, Kentucky is ahead of Duke in the rankings. The Blue Devils are now No. 90, one spot below Army, Coach K’s alma mater.
— Kentucky’s current resume is not good, but the Cats have four straight Quad 1 opportunities ahead of them.
- Tomorrow: at Alabama (No. 9)
- Saturday, Jan. 30: vs. Texas (No. 10)
- Tues., Feb. 2: at Missouri (No. 23)
- Sat., Feb 6: vs. Tennessee (No. 11)
Just keep winning.