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NCAA Tournament Bracketology: Kentucky Wildcats sliding in new ESPN projection

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This is actually a pretty good region for the Cats.

Vanderbilt v Kentucky Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Joe Lunardi at ESPN updated his bracketology following yesterday’s release of the top four seeds from the tournament committee, and Kentucky falls in as an 8-seed in Lunardi’s updated projection.

Lunardi’s projection, on the surface, doesn’t seem like a horrible draw. Kentucky opens the tournament in Nashville, facing off against Florida State.

The Seminoles have been inconsistent this year, to say the least. They hold a road win at Florida and solid victories over Miami and North Carolina.

Recently, they pushed Virginia to the limits before failing to seal the deal in the final minutes. However, they have head-scratching losses to Wake Forest, Notre Dame, and Boston College.

The Seminoles can score with nearly any team in the country, reaching 90 points nine times this season with a handful of games breaking 100.

But on the other hand, they give up a lot too. They’ve given up 84 points to Notre Dame, 94 to Miami, 90 to Syracuse (a 2OT game), and 100 to Duke.

Needless to say, it’s not the best matchup for Kentucky, but one that on the surface seems winnable. A win would place the Wildcats in a second-round matchup with 1-seed Xavier, who’s starting point guard is a Kentucky native, Quentin Goodin of Campbellsville, Ky.

Since losing back-to-back road games against Providence and Villanova, the Musketeers have rattled off eight consecutive wins.

Many fans would probably love that draw, but Xavier (in my opinion) is a really good team that is a real Final Four contender.

The only common opponent between the Wildcats and Musketeers is East Tennessee State. Kentucky defeated ETSU 78-61 on Nov. 17. Xavier defeated ETSU 68-66 on Dec. 16 in a game in which ETSU led by as many as 22 but Xavier came back to seal the win with a jumper with six seconds remaining.

As a side note: ETSU was a solid scheduling decision by Kentucky. They sit at 22-4 and are undefeated in their conference. With an RPI at 66, that win will be considered a quality win come tournament time if they keep on pace.

So what do you all think of this bracket draw? Again it’s early and things change, but it’s interesting to see how things may shake out.