Lunardi slotted the Wildcats as a 5-seed in the East Region in the latest projection, with their first-round opponent being 12-seed Loyola Chicago, the same squad that upset the Florida Gators on the road earlier this season.
In this projection, the Wildcats would play in Boise to start. If they avoid an upset from Loyola, they would face off against (4) West Virginia or (13) Vermont, both of whom Kentucky has defeated this season.
The East Region semi-finals and Finals will be played in Boston this year.
(1) Villanova and (2) Michigan State top the projected East Region, with Clemson coming in as the 3-seed.
The SEC has the second-most teams projected to make the tournament, with 8 bids. That only trails the ACC’s 9 projected bids. (3) Auburn, (3) Tennessee, (5) Kentucky, (7) Florida, (8) Missouri, (9) Alabama, (9) Texas A&M and (10) Arkansas are included among the SEC teams projected to make the Big Dance, a testament to the improved play in the league that had five teams selected last year and only three teams the year before.
However, don’t expect Kentucky’s projection to stay the same with the slate of games coming up. With four tough road games coming up, Kentucky could bump up a seed line (or maybe two) with some big wins, but could also drop a few lines (or out of the tournament completely) if they collapse down the stretch.