ESPN’s Joe Lunardi just dropped UK to a 2-seed in his latest projections, but it ends up being a great setup for the Cats in the South Region. Baylor comes in as a 1-seed, fresh off their near-upset loss at home to Texas Tech. The Bears needed a last-second block to preserve a win over the Red Raiders, which has been a common scenario for Baylor, regardless of how bad their opponents have been.
This region also features Butler as a 3-seed, Maryland as a 6-seed, Kansas State as a 10-seed, and Northwestern as a 7-seed. Those are who UK would have to beat for a berth in the Elite Eight, where likely Baylor or 4-seed Virginia would be waiting.
If you’re a UK fan, you take that region every day, especially since it’s in the South Region, which takes place in Memphis, a good drive for UK fans.
This is almost the exact same projection as NBC Sports’ latest bracketology. They also have UK as a 2-seed, Baylor as a 1 seed, but the 3-seed here is Louisville, setting up a potential Sweet 16 date with the Cardinals.
5th-seeded Duke and 4th-seeded Purdue are also a threat, but this still ends up being a very manageable region for the Cats.
Elsewhere, CBS Sports’ latest bracketology has UK earning a 3-seed in the West. This is a bit more challenging, though having Gonzaga as the 1-seed is a huge plus. Arizona as the 2-seed is more dangerous now that Allonzo Trier is back, but still is a good matchup for UK.
The big story would be Duke making it as a 6-seed, which means they could face off in their second tournament game. North Carolina as the 4-seed might be UK’s biggest threat in this region.
In all, these are mostly favorable projections for a team that just lost to an unranked .500 team. It certainly helped UK that No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Villanova, No. 7 UCLA, and No. 8 Florida State have all lost this week.