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Kentucky basketball: Projecting the Wildcats’ NCAA Event seed ceiling

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Yeah, so, about that NCAA Event bubble speak for Kentucky. Scratch that. In reality, after the Wildcats washed...

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Yeah, so, about that NCAA Event bubble speak for Kentucky. Scratch that.

In reality, after the Wildcats washed out the bitter style of a four-game shedding streak by beating consecutive top-50 opponents — Alabama at house Saturday, then a dominant highway win at Arkansas on Tuesday — they’re not simply in the Massive Dance, however climbing seed strains.

Regardless of solely a so-so document (19-9 total, Eight-7 in SEC play), the Wildcats at the moment are trending towards a No. 5 seed in most projections. They’ve 5 RPI top-50 wins and 7 KenPom top-50 victories.

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Shelby Mast, bracketologist for USA At the moment (and his personal web site,, has Kentucky a 5 seed as of Wednesday morning. He and colleague Scott Gleeson tagged the surging Cats a darkish horse Closing 4 contender after the blitz in Fayetteville.

Over the past two video games, coach John Calipari appears to have lastly settled on a profitable mixture of gamers: Quade Inexperienced, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox, PJ Washington and Jarred Vanderbilt. Dominating the minutes Tuesday, that quintet outscored and outrebounded the Razorbacks by itself.

“I’m slowly beginning to determine this workforce,” Calipari mentioned afterward.

If that’s true and Kentucky is starting to click on, what’s the NCAA Event seed ceiling? Three regular-season video games stay, all towards KenPom top-100 groups (the Wildcats have already got a dozen top-100 wins this season), together with No. 41 Missouri at house on Saturday and at No. 28 Florida every week later.

What if — and this stays a massive if — UK swept these video games and gained the SEC Event, conceivably beating two or three extra top-50 groups alongside the best way? That might imply an eight-game win streak heading into Choice Sunday and near double-digit high quality wins for the season.

We reached out to Mast to see the place he thinks that might put the Wildcats. Relying on how outcomes elsewhere shake out, he figures that might of run would in all probability benefit a No. three seed.

That’s vital, as a result of threes and fours have traditionally gained 84.1 and 80.three p.c of the time within the first spherical, whereas these numbers drop considerably to 64.four and 62.9 p.c for fives and sixes. In different phrases, get above the 5-seed line and enhance your odds of avoiding an early upset loss.

Additionally, by vaulting up out of the Eight/9 vary, Kentucky might keep away from enjoying a No. 1 seed within the Spherical of 32. With this younger, tall and gifted workforce that’s solely scratching the floor of what it might turn into, extending the season into the second weekend of the NCAA Event may make virtually something attainable.

How’s that for a change in outlook within the matter of simply seven days?

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