Though this Kentucky team has been playing markedly better since the end of January, injuries and exhaustion are beginning to plague the ‘Cats. In order to keep their spot at the top of the conference while the team heals up, it would really help if UK had a couple of fluff games between now and the SEC tournament. Instead, the rest of the teams Kentucky plays in the regular season are all fighting for an NCAA tournament berth. What luck!
Let’s take a look at each of the remaining teams on Kentucky’s schedule and see what they stand to gain from a victory.
Current tourney status: 12 seed, Last four in
After yesterday’s loss to Mississippi State, the Crimson Tide should find themselves on the wrong side of the bubble in Lunardi’s next update. With UK being the last tournament team Alabama faces in the regular season, they will need to win this game to get their tourney hopes back on track. Unfortunately for them, Rupp Arena isn’t an ideal place for this to happen.
Current tourney status: First four out
Many pundits predicted that Vanderbilt would compete with UK for an SEC crown this season. Many pundits were wrong. Though Kevin Stallings has underachieved this year, the ‘Dores are still fighting to make the tournament, and a win at Memorial is rarely an easy task. With games remaining at Florida and Texas AM, Vandy has a couple of other opportunities to add quality wins. Still, they’re certainly hoping to protect home court against UK and pick up a win that could push them into the tournament.
Current tourney status: 7 seed
After losing to USC lite yesterday, Florida will probably find themselves in the 8-9 seed range in the upcoming bracketology. Though their position seems relatively solid, their next two games are against Vanderbilt and at LSU. If the Gators drop one of those, the UK game will suddenly turn into a must-win if UF wants to avoid the bubble.
Current tourney status: 11 seed, Last four byes
Like Alabama and Florida, LSU also lost yesterday. Their defeat came at Tennessee, which will probably put the Tigers out of the field in Lunardi’s next bracketology. LSU can still pick up decent wins at Arkansas and at home against Florida. But a sweep of the Cats is just what Ben Simmons needs to avoid becoming the first number one overall pick to miss the tournament in 38 years.
What do you think? Is this schedule a cause for concern? Or will UK continue rolling?