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College Basketball Bracketology: Kentucky Wildcats gets tough projection at ESPN

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Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, and Louisville in the same region is what the NCAA Tournament committee would love.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

The latest bracket projections from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi have a Midwest Region made for television.

That Midwest Region that Lunardi has projected includes Duke (2), Arizona (3), Kentucky (5), and Louisville (6).

The latest projections place the Wildcats as a 5 seed in the region, starting the tournament out in Dallas against the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns as the 12 seed. Despite the Cats’ three-straight wins — including a win at No. 15 West Virginia — Kentucky is still getting the same projection they’ve had since Jan. 18, which was right after the lost two straight games to Florida and South Carolina.

Anyhow, in this projection, the Wildcats could be staring down a 4 vs 5 matchup with #10 ranked Texas Tech, who is tied for second in the Big 12 and currently hold a road victory over Kansas.

The top seed in that bracket is the Purdue Boilermakers, who have been somewhat of a surprise this year holding a 22-2 record and are in the midst of an 18-game winning streak.

The rest of the Midwest Region looks like this:

  1. Purdue Boilermakers
  2. Duke Blue Devils
  3. Arizona Wildcats
  4. Texas Tech Red Raiders
  5. Kentucky Wildcats
  6. Louisville Cardinals
  7. Rhode Island Rams
  8. Butler Bulldogs
  9. Florida State Seminoles
  10. Kansas State Wildcats
  11. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
  12. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
  13. Buffalo Bulls
  14. Montana Grizzlies
  15. Rider Broncs
  16. Arkansas Pine Bluff/New Orleans

In other bracket takeaways, Villanova, Virginia, and Kansas take the remaining 1 seeds. Auburn, Michigan State, and Xavier take the remaining 2 seeds.

The SEC is tied for the second most teams in the bracket with 7. The Big 12 and Big East also have seven teams in the projection. The ACC leads with 9 teams.

That road would not be an easy one for Kentucky, but then again, when has Kentucky ever had one of the easier paths? Texas Tech is a tough second-round opponent. They’re one of the better defensive teams in the country (ranked 3rd in defensive efficiency by KenPom) but struggle to score at times.

A potential Sweet 16 matchup with Purdue would also be looming and the Boilermakers look like a team that could go into the tournament as one of the favorites. Purdue and Michigan State are the only teams that rank in the top 15 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

But needless to say, this is a bracket that would definitely draw some interest if it were to come to fruition in March.