Not that long ago, Kentucky was seen as a team that was on the verge of falling onto the bubble.
Now, Joe Lunardi at ESPN has the Wildcats trending up and projected as a 5-seed in the latest bracketology.
The Wildcats get an opening matchup with either Southern Cal. or Syracuse in San Diego to open before facing off against either Gonzaga or East Tennessee State.
The projected Midwest Region is headlined by (1) Xavier and (2) Purdue. The Regional games will be played in Omaha.
There are currently eight SEC teams projected to make the field, second behind the ACC’s 10 projected teams. Georgia is listed as one of the final teams to miss the Big Dance.
Over at the Bracket Matrix, which was updated Wednesday night, Kentucky is projected as the third overall 5-seed.
Kentucky has a chance to really make some ground up. If they can earn a top four seed in the SEC Tournament, they have a chance to make some noise there that could bump them a seed line or so.
That’s even more true because of how the NCAA Selection Committee is starting to use quadrants (more on that here). Quadrant I wins include wins over top-50 RPI teams on neutral courts, something Kentucky could end up getting 2-3 of if they win the SEC Tournament.
However, it’s too much to begin looking ahead with this group and the focus should be on picking up a win against Missouri on Saturday. The Tigers desperately need this game to secure their NCAA Tournament hopes.