So far this season, the Kentucky Wildcats haven’t exactly played up to the expectations everyone had after the Bahamas. As of right now, the Cats sit at 8-2 on the year with zero high-quality wins and a bad loss to Seton Hall.
Jerry Palm of CBS has updated his current predictions for seeding in the NCAA Tournament, and the Cats came in at a shocking 11 seed in the Midwest Region with a first-round matchup against Furman.
A potential Round of 32 matchup with 3 seed Houston could follow. Then there would likely be 2 seed Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 and 1 seed Kansas in the Elite Eight. For an 11 seed, that’s not exactly the worst path to a Final Four that Kentucky would have ever had.
As crazy as that may sound, it might not be a far-fetched as you may think due to the very difficult schedule that the Cats must endure this season.
First, let’s look at the remaining non-conference games for the Cats. This weekend they have a top-25 matchup with a North Carolina team that is fresh off a big win over Gonzaga.
After UNC, the Cats will have to make a road trip to Louisville when they face off against the rival Cards. That game will be a lot more difficult than people think, as Louisville already has a big win over Michigan State.
The Cardinals also won at Seton Hall, the same team Kentucky fell to on a neutral floor. They will have some matchup problems for Kentucky, making that game very tough.
Finally, in January the current number one team in the country, Kansas Jayhawks come to town for the Big 12-SEC challenge. Their post play is what makes them tick, but they have had a tough time blowing anyone out this year. Although, it is still Kansas, and they are still the No. 1 team currently.
That is a tough final three non-conference games, and the conference opponents are not much easier. The SEC is a stacked conference this year, and the Cats must play all the best teams twice.
Kentucky will face Tennessee, Mississippi State, Florida, and Auburn twice. Tennessee and Auburn both currently sit in the top 10, and Mississippi State is in top 20.
All those games will be very tough and could result in the Cats falling all the way to that 9+ seed range in the tournament.
However, Cal’s teams have generally always improved as the year progresses, so by the time they face off with Kansas and the SEC’s elite, this team may be hitting its stride and be ready for the multiple tests.
One thing that is certain, if Kentucky can win their next two games, that 11 seed talk will quickly die.
You can check out the complete CBS projections here.