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College Basketball Bracketology: New projections by ESPN and NBC

A look at the updated projections as the final week of regular-season play continues.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Wisconsin vs Florida Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Bracket projections are heating up as the regular season winds down.

With the season in the home stretch, the Kentucky Wildcats have only two more games before the conference tournament.

Today, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi released his latest Bracketology, placing Kentucky as a 5-seed in the South Region, opening up the tournament in Boise.

Here’s a look at that South Region.

Admittedly, I don’t like the draw at all. Middle Tennessee State is a team that has played well in the tournament as a lower seed the last few years under Kermit Davis.

As a 12-seed last year, they upset 5-seed Minnesota in the first round before giving Butler an upset scare in the second round. The year before that, they upset 2-seed Michigan State as a 15-seed.

This year is no different, as the Blue Raiders are currently in the top 25 in the nation. I’m a little surprised that they aren’t projected higher.

However, they have lost out on chances at some really good wins like a 76-70 neutral court loss to Auburn, as well as five and three point neutral court losses to USC and Miami, respectively.

Over at NBC Sports, the Cats are also projected as a 5 seed, though this one is in the East Region with Villanova (1), North Carolina (2), Cincinnati (3), Texas Tech (4) and Arkansas (6). Kentucky’s first game would come against the play-in winner between Syracuse and Washington.

The Bracket Matrix has Kentucky as the third 5-seed from their projections, with some projections ranking Kentucky as high as a 3-seed and others as low as a 7.

There really isn’t too much of a difference between a 4-seed and a 5-seed, but I would definitely prefer the 4 to avoid the 5-12 matchup that is most prone to an upset.

Quick fact: there have been 47 upsets including a 12-seed over a 5-seed, but only 26 upsets where a 13-seed has defeated a 4-seed.

Kentucky will still have plenty of opportunities to improve their seed for the Big Dance.