It’s never too early for some late-season predictions, and the fine people over at ESPN are always eager to satisfy fans who have a large appetite for March basketball.
ESPN’s women’s basketball Bracketology expert, Charlie Creme, released his initial seedings for the 2020 NCAA women’s basketball tournament and UK Hoops team came in as a 4-seed.
Creme has the Wildcats hosting the first two rounds of the tournament as the highest seed in its section of the bracket (the 1, 2, 3, and 4-seeds in all four quadrants host the first two rounds in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament) and he’s matched them up against Arkansas Little Rock out of the Sun Belt Conference.
The four No. 1 seeds are listed as Stanford, Baylor, UConn, and Oregon.
— ESPN Women's Hoops (@ESPN_WomenHoop) October 21, 2019
Last year, the Wildcats entered the NCAA tournament as a six-seed, where they lost in the second round to NC State, who hosted the first two rounds as the three-seed. Heading into the 2019-20 season, Kentucky is expected to start out as a nationally ranked team – likely somewhere in the 15-20 range if these seedings are any reflection of what the rankings will look like once they’re released.
Led by the reigning National Freshman of the Year and candidate for 2020 SEC Player of the Year, Rhyne Howard, the ‘Cats will boast a deep roster with plenty of shooting, experience, and versatility. There is overflowing optimism surrounding this team that they can reach both the SEC Championship and an NCAA Final Four this year in a competitive conference that Creme predicts will have eight teams represented once the tournament begins.
I’d say a four-seed is the floor for this Kentucky team as of today. Barring any injuries, the ‘Cats should be nationally ranked throughout the entire season and a few upset wins over teams such as South Carolina (predicted as a two-seed, according to Creme), Lousiville (two-seed), Mississippi State (three-seed), or Texas A&M (three-seed) will only boost the confidence this team is already spilling at the brim with.
Among other opponents on UK’s schedule that Creme included in his Bracketology are Middle Tennessee (11-seed), Tennessee (nine-seed), LSU (nine-seed), Auburn (seven-seed), and Arkansas (five-seed). The non-conference schedule should favor Kentucky as they head in SEC play, where the talent level will significantly increase and we really find out how good this team is and can be.