Kentucky won’t know their draw for the 2020 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament until the Selection Show on Monday, March, 16th but we have a pretty good idea of where they’re going to land.
While ESPN’s Bracketology differs a bit from two other outlets, there is a common trend: the ladies will likely land as either a five-seed or six-seed, meaning they would have to travel for the first two rounds and beyond.
The way the women’s tournament is set up, the top four-seeds from each region host the first two rounds. Considering the ‘Cats lost to Mississippi State in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, there’s a good chance that they won’t secure a top-four seed. A win over the Bulldogs might have been able to push them over the edge, but now a seed or two below that is looking more likely.
ESPN has Kentucky as a six-seed in the Fort Wayne region where they would play 11-seeded Old Dominion in the first round down in Tuscon, AZ. The Arizona Wildcats would host as the three-seed. Louisville is also in this portion of the bracket as the two-seed while Texas A&M finds themselves as the five-seed. Maryland would be the top-seed.
CollegeSportsMadness.com and RealTimeRPI.com both have Kentucky as five-seeds, which is where I believe they ultimately land. CSMadness slots UK in Corvallis, OR with Oregon State as the four-seed and 12-seeded Georgia Tech as the ‘Cats opening-round opponent. Maryland would be the top overall seed in this bracket, too.
RealTimeRPI thinks the ‘Cats will land in four-seeded Iowa’s opening round bracket where they would take on 12-seeded Middle Tennessee State up in Iowa City IA, who Kentucky beat in the second regular-season game of the year by a final score of 67-52 down in Murfreesboro, TN. UConn would be the top overall seed in this bracket.
All three brackets have Texas A&M as a five-seed, and I think Kentucky’s resume matches up rather similarly to the Aggies.
According to HerHoopStats, they rank Kentucky as the 17th best team while Texas A&M is slightly below at No. 19. When comparing their resumes, the ‘Cats win over Mississippi State back February is a better win than anything the Aggies boast; UK also owns the head-to-head win.
What hurts Kentucky the most are two losses in particular; the home loss to Florida (15-15) and the road loss to Vanderbilt (14-16) at the end of the year. Both games saw the ‘Cats blow big leads. Kentucky has also lost more games against high-quality opponents compared to A&M, but only because they’ve played in more of them. Both teams went a combined 0-3 against LSU (Kentucky went 0-1 and Texas A&M loss both matchups). The Aggies only “bad” loss of the season is against an 18-12 Alabama team that Kentucky did manage to beat twice, but in a tight, three-point contest in the second meeting.
If Kentucky does wind up with a six-seed, it won’t be all that unjustified. Another win or two over a quality opponent such as Louisville or MSU might have secured a five-seed, but it feels safe to say UK won’t land outside the five or six range. Either way, we’re traveling somewhere!