The Kentucky Wildcats were dominant in their 73-55 win over Alabama on Friday, but they’re still losing ground in the latest round of bracketology.
That’s because the Duke Blue Devils scored a major win over the North Carolina Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament. Not only was it a big win, but Zion Williamson has returned and is back to his dominant self.
Had Duke lost that game, they probably would be a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament in Kentucky’s region if the Wildcats earn a 1 seed. But with Zion healthy, it’s clear Duke is one of the four best teams in America and deserve a 1 seed since all but one of their losses came with a key player injured.
That has several bracketologists putting Duke ahead of Kentucky in their latest projections, including the latest from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. He now has Duke as the 1 seed in the South Region, while Kentucky is now the 1 seed in the Midwest Region with UNC as the 2:
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has a similar projection with Kentucky and UNC in the Midwest Region:
While there’s a good argument for Kentucky to still be the 1 seed in the South Region, being the top seed in the Midwest isn’t exactly a bad deal. Kansas City is close enough for the arena to be a pro-UK crowd, and possibly having to beat UNC for a Final Four berth is far better than having to play Duke in a possible Elite Eight matchup.
But if you still want to see Kentucky playing in Louisville regardless of the opposition, you may like the new projection from USA Today Sports. It has Kentucky as a 2 seed in the South Region with the Virginia Cavaliers as the 1:
I may be in the minority, but I think Kentucky would be in much better shape in a region that doesn’t have Virginia or Duke. Those have been the two best teams in college basketball this season. While the Cavaliers have certainly had their postseason struggles, this is probably Tony Bennett’s best team, and it feels like Virginia is poised to finally break through into the Final Four.
Of all the projections, SB Nation’s latest bracket is probably the best-case scenario for Kentucky. It has the Wildcats as the 1 seed with UNC as the 2:
Of three four projections, here’s how I would rank them in terms of most to least favorable for Kentucky:
- SB Nation
- CBS Sports/ESPN
- USA Today
All told, it looks very likely that Kentucky would avoid Virginia and Duke by getting a 1 seed. However, the Wildcats must beat the Tennessee Volunteers today for that to happen. A loss today would likely knock Kentucky to a 2 seed in either Duke’s or Virginia’s region.
Saying this, teams almost always have to play at least one great team to make the Final Four, and Kentucky has the firepower to beat anyone.
Which of these brackets would you like the most for Kentucky? Let us know in the comments section.