One of the easiest things to write to get clicks this week is to reseed or rank the remaining teams in the NCAA tournament. Many websites have done it, and some — well, just one — is really #$%@ing stupid.
Matt Norlander over at CBSSports.com, who is a KSR favorite among the national college basketball people, reranked the field and put Kentucky at No. 11, behind Loyola-Chicago (9) and Nevada (10) in the South Region. With all due respect to Norlander, that is a ridiculous place for the Cats. What has Kentucky done to fall behind those teams in the tournament? It makes no sense, but here’s his explanation:
Actual seed: No. 5 in the South Regional. Think UK is too low? For reference, it ranks as the 10th best team of the 16 left at KenPom. The 26-10 Wildcats being 11th here speaks to how tight this field is between No. 4 and No. 12. Kentucky got a scare from Davidson and then ran away from Buffalo. John Calipari’s squad has been able to win all but one game in the past month because its 3-point defense is the best of any team in the field. UK holds foes to 29.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Regular season wins over tournament teams: Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee. [CBSSports.com]
Then there’s ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf’s reseeding of the Sweet 16; he has Kentucky at No. 5 overall and the top No. 2 seed of what’s left. Read Medcalf’s explanation:
5. Kentucky (Reseed: No. 2; previous seed: 5)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander never earned the acclaim that Collin Sexton and Trae Young enjoyed this season as freshman point guard prospects destined for the next level. But his performance in the NCAA tournament will only elevate the stock of the 6-foot-6 point guard who is the key to Kentucky’s immediate future. He averaged 23.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists in a pair of wins over Davidson and Buffalo. Kentucky outscored both teams 80-50 in the paint.
Gilgeous-Alexander is elevating his play at the right time, as is Kevin Knox, who is contributing to the Wildcats’ dominance in the paint. With higher seeds Virginia and Tennessee already eliminated in the region, Kentucky could reach the Final Four. But it did not have a flawless weekend. Davidson and Buffalo, a pair of double-digit seeds, made 50 percent of their shots inside the arc against the Wildcats. [ESPN.com]
While we’re on the subject of Myron Medcalf, he sent what could be the worst tweet of all time on Sunday. Put that thing in the HOF.
Then there’s Andy Katz, formerly of ESPN fame, now with NCAA.com. Katz ranks Kentucky sixth of the 16 remaining teams, explained here:
6. Kentucky: The Wildcats lost games in the SEC. So what? News flash: The SEC was much better. The Wildcats are right at the place they need to be — winning the SEC tournament, beating back upstart Davidson and blowing past Buffalo, just two days after the Bulls crushed Arizona. The Wildcats have matured at the “normal” pace for a traditional freshman class. Kentucky has a great shot to end the season where it always expects to be: The Final Four. [NCAA.com]
I think somewhere in the neighborhood of fifth is a fair place for the Cats right now, but their path is by far the least challenging of the tournament. That’s why Kentucky is considered the favorite of the remaining teams to earn a Final Four spot.