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Ranking Kentucky’s Remaining Games By Difficulty

Kentucky’s resume isn’t as glamorous as we had hoped it would be at this point in the season. With disappointing losses against UCLA, South Carolina and Florida, Kentucky will need to win some big games to make up for the hiccups it has already had along the way.

Twelve games remain on UK’s regular season schedule, and as it stands now, the Cats will be the underdog in six of them. That will of course change from game to game as the season progresses, but this is how the games rank in order of difficulty as of today’s state of college basketball.


1.) @ West Virginia
Sat, Jan 27

Disregard West Virginia’s loss at TCU last night; West Virginia is the toughest opponent the Cats will face the rest of the year. WVU Coliseum will be an atmosphere unlike anything Kentucky has seen — those people are crazy — and the Mountaineers are the best team in college basketball at forcing turnovers, which is one of Kentucky’s biggest weaknesses as a young team. Expect absolute pandemonium in Morgantown this coming Saturday.

Win Probability: 17.8%

2.) @ Florida
Sat, Mar 3

After losing to Florida as a home favorite this past weekend, it’s tough to have high expectations for the return trip to Gainesville for the rematch. It will be Senior Day for Egor Koulechov, Chris Chiozza and John Egbunu; three of the Gators’ best players. There could also be regular season SEC title implications on the line, at least for one of the teams involved in the game.

Win Probability: 27.0%

3.) @ Auburn
Wed, Feb 14

Bruce Pearl has Auburn playing its best basketball in over a decade, as he was expected to do. The Tigers have only one loss in conference and they are ranked in the top 25 for the first time in 14 years. The good news is Kentucky has only one loss to Auburn in 18 years; however, that loss came in 2016, the last time John Calipari’s team made the trip south.

Win Probability: 27.7%

4.) @ Texas A&M
Sat, Feb 10

Kentucky earned a narrow win over Texas A&M in the first meeting with only seven scholarship players available on the roster. The Cats will hopefully be at full strength for Round 2, but College Station will present a much tougher challenge than the friendly confines of Rupp Arena. Three of UK’s last four games in Reed Arena have gone to overtime.

Win Probability: 34.2%

5.) @ Arkansas
Tue, Feb 20

The road trip to Arkansas will present another difficult task for the Cats, but it’s one to circle as a potential steal. Unranked LSU went to Fayetteville two weeks ago and beat the Razorbacks by 21 points, but that is the Razorbacks’ only home loss in 11 games this season.

Win Probability: 35.4%

6.) @ Missouri
Sat, Feb 3

Kentucky’s most-winnable road test, according to the BPI projections, will be its game against Missouri the weekend after next. The Tigers have marquee home wins over Tennessee and Georgia, but Florida snuck out of Columbia with a victory on a wild finish at the buzzer in Mizzou’s only loss at home.

Win Probability: 38.3%

7.) vs. Tennessee
Tue, Feb 6

For Kentucky to hold the season together, it will have to defend its home floor. Florida snapped a 30-game SEC win streak this past weekend and another loss in Rupp would be devastating to UK’s resume. The toughest of those remaining home games will be the one against Tennessee, which already has a win over the Cats this season. The BPI predicts the rematch will be close to a coin flip, despite the home court advantage for Kentucky.

Win Probability: 52.6%

8.) vs. Missouri
Sat, Feb 24

Missouri is the only team that Kentucky still has to play twice in the regular season. Winning one is a must; winning two would be great.

Win Probability: 69.5%

9.) vs. Alabama
Sat, Feb 17

One of the SEC’s best players, Collin Sexton, will put the Crimson Tide on his back in trying to upset Kentucky in the only meeting between Alabama and Kentucky this season. Bama freshman John Petty will also get up for that one, considering he was once a VERY strong UK lean before he eventually signed with Avery Johnson. Those two guards give Alabama a chance, but it’s still a game Kentucky should be pretty confident in winning.

Win Probability: 72.2%

10.) vs. Mississippi State
Tue, Jan 23

Tuesday night’s game against Mississippi State is a must-win game. Kentucky enters the game on a two-game losing streak, and John Calipari has never lost three in a row during his time in Lexington. If the Cats were to lose to the Bulldogs, we’d really start sweating out the NCAA tournament bid.

Win Probability: 80.9%

11.) vs. Ole Miss
Wed, Feb 28

Ole Miss will be the opponent when Kentucky celebrates Senior Day for the home finale. The problem with that is, Kentucky does not have any seniors, therefore there will be no celebration. The good news is, Ole Miss hasn’t won in Rupp Arena in 20 years.

Win Probability: 82.0%

12.) vs. Vanderbilt
Tue, Jan 30

The easiest remaining game on the schedule comes a week from today when Vanderbilt travels to Lexington for revenge. Kentucky won down in Nashville without Quade Green or Jarred Vanderbilt in uniform, so it should be able to handle its business once again.

Win Probability: 83.6%

(Win Probability determined by College Basketball Power Index)

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

23 Comments for Ranking Kentucky’s Remaining Games By Difficulty

  1. The Professor
    12:10 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    We aren’t very good but neither is WVU. Originally, I saw this as a sure loss but after watching them play a few times, I think we can win.

    • DelrayCat
      12:31 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

      This team won’t win any tough road game….too soft.

    • runningunnin.454
      1:22 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

      We are too soft….right now; that’s why the entire team should come back next year; neither physically nor mentally tough…but next year would be different.

  2. Biglaw Dawgin'
    12:16 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    Ruh roh. We could be on the outside looking in come tourney time if we lose the games we “should” lose (according to above). Our RPI is decent right now (20th), but our BPI isn’t (35th). We may need more than 20 wins to do the trick since we haven’t won against a ranked team yet (ranked at the time we played them). Can’t falter in any of the ones we should win either.

  3. ScoggDog
    12:16 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    If you go by the probabilities … that’s 20-11 overall. 10-8 in SEC.

    That’s a bubble team.

    • Craig
      1:13 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

      But on the right side of the bubble. We have a very tough strength of schedule (12 in RPI, 15 in KenPom), and no bad losses. Finish 21-12 after SEC tourney and we’d have the resume of a 9 or 10 seed.

    • Catsby80
      2:10 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

      no bad losses? what? i don’t care what the metrics say, we lost a 14 point lead with 12 minutes left against south carolina. whether that shows up as a “bad loss” or not by the metrics is irrelevant. anybody who watched that game knows that was a bad loss. UCLA was about on par with that loss, too.

  4. Mc12
    12:26 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    I personally think a healthy TX A&M team is better than WVU, but would agree it will be more difficult at WVU based on the atmosphere and holding. TX A&M beat WVU by 23. I know it was early, but I think they’re a top 10 caliber team too, and don’t think the win was a fluke. I would also bet on UF with their bigs to beat WVU on a neutral court and also believe UF is a top 10 caliber team when healthy.

  5. DelrayCat
    12:30 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    If this team loses all 6 games we are predicted undredogs….this team will be dangerously close to an NIT bid and missing the tourney altogether. smh.

  6. bosch8184
    12:39 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    Brutal schedule for this team. Anything better than 6-6 would be surprising.

    Lose tonight and the wheels get ejected. Definitely an NIT team.

  7. Mc12
    12:56 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    I think we’ll finish at 21-10 and with the improvement of the conference as well as out-of-conference wins by the conference, 21-10 or 21-11 will be enough. Louisville is playing decent and VA Tech could potentially get in the tournament too. I see us as in the 7-8 seeding range when it’s all said and done finishing at 23-11. Just my guess.

    • Kat4Life
      2:15 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

      I’m with you…..and see it pretty much the same way. Lose 10-11 games, get a 9 seed and take our chances…..nothing wrong with that, we cannot expect to dominate with this group, just not enough fire power once Diallo exposed himself as overhyped and Knox decided this game was too tough for him. Both will be back, so no worries……they haven’t shown enough to get drafted, at least not in the NBA.

  8. UK Fan In Nashville
    1:01 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    This team is winning out. Book it!

  9. runningunnin.454
    1:05 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    I remember a regular season record of 16-12 under Joe B that went to the NCAA Sweet 16.
    The name on the front of the jersey carries some weight.

  10. CatsandPats
    1:16 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    Winning out?! What have they been giving you in Cashville?

    • runningunnin.454
      1:26 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

      Too young, inexperienced, and soft to win out. But the whole thing is wide open. Of course, UConn had a veteran team; but, they were unranked before their sweep of the Big East Tourn and the NCAA tourn.
      At the end of that year, I watched UL beat them by 30, and then they won the title.
      The tournament should be interesting.

    • Jiminy Crickets
      2:00 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

      Say what you will, the only team beating Louisville that year was UK. If Harrison missed that 3, UL wins that tourney. They beat UConn 3 times (played 3 times) and none of the games were close.

  11. Jiminy Crickets
    1:59 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    Can we stop pretending Texas AM was “full strength”? First they still had one guy out, and 3 others were in their first game back, and could be seen on side line out of breath by half time. We were short too, I get it, but the Texas AM team we barely beat at Rupp is not the same team that throttled WVU.

    • secrick
      2:10 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

      if ifs and buts where candy and nuts it would be Chritmas every day. Harrison didn,t miss, Louisville didn’t win. You are right though Texas A&M is a good basketball team.

  12. Kat4Life
    2:10 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    As I’ve been saying since mid Dec, this is a 10-loss bubble/high-seed team……sorry, but it is. We could gel and make a nice NCAA run, because there really are no great teams this year, but likely we will lose in the SEC and NCAA tourney in round 2…….should be a better story next year when we have everyone back (I do not see any NBA 1st rounders on this squad)……..

    • runningunnin.454
      2:23 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

      Agree about the draft; they should all come back; but, ESPN has Knox as the no.11 pick….crazy.

    • Kat4Life
      3:24 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah….and I really don’t get why they have him so high ? He has skills, but they certainly do not translate to an NBA front court, unless he get a hell of a lot tougher and becomes an alpha male he projects as a footnote to the 2018 NBA draft……I think another year would be very beneficial to Knox, I am all but done with Diallo’s potential…..the guy has the basketball IQ of a 5th grader.

  13. TB112162
    5:09 pm January 23, 2018 Permalink

    How about playing the games on the court I’m sure if you went by paper Duke wouldn’t have lost twice how about 13-5 in the Sec and 23-8 overall