Earlier today, we talked with national college baseball writer Aaron Fitt of D1 Baseball about Kentucky and the NCAA Tournament. Fitt spent time covering college baseball at Baseball America before moving to D1 Baseball as a national writer and editor. Here are his comments on UK and what the SEC Tournament means for the BatCats.
KSR: Where does UK stand and what scenarios need to fill out for them to make the NCAA Tournament?
Aaron Fitt: The Wildcats are squarely on the bubble entering this week, and probably on the wrong side of it. Right now, their case is remarkably similar to Missouri’s case last year – both teams went 15-15 in the SEC and had RPIs in the mid-50s, and Missouri was left out of the NCAA tournament. I think Kentucky needs to win a couple of games this week and get that RPI into the top 50 to feel good about its chances.
KSR: Is the Alabama/UK matchup a play-in game for the Tournament?
AF: Yes, that game against Alabama is effectively an at-large play-in game – I think the loser is done.
KSR: What other teams across the country are bubble teams to keep an eye on?
AF: Other bubble teams to keep in mind: Cal and Oregon State in the Pac-12; UNC and maybe Wake Forest and Georgia Tech in the ACC; BYU and Gonzaga in the WCC; Sam Houston State and Southeastern Louisiana in the Southland; Michigan, Ohio State, maybe Maryland in the Big Ten; Uconn in the American.
KSR: How will the next couple weeks determine Coach Gary Henderson’s future?
AF: I think Gary Henderson has done a good job making Kentucky competitive every year in a conference where that is very tough to do. The Wildcats have some of the worst weather and facilities in the SEC, and still the program is in better shape than places like Tennessee and Georgia, programs that have a lot of built-in advantages over UK. So I don’t think Gary should have anything to worry about if the Wildcats fail to make a regional… but you never know in this league.
KSR: What regional, if any, do you have UK making?
AF: Should Kentucky get in, obviously a return trip to Louisville is a distinct possibility.
Aaron is a great follow on Twitter (@aaronfitt), especially at this time of the year. He will have national updates for the postseason, while I am currently en route to Hoover for the SEC Tournament. There will be a live diary tomorrow at 5 E.T for the game at Alabama. As always, @TreyHuntsmanKSR is where I’ll have Twitter updates.