The Kentucky Wildcats are heading to the Sweet 16 in Kansas City, looking to make the Final Four for the fifth time in the John Calipari era. This road would never be easy for the Wildcats, but if you look at what the media is saying Kentucky is David up against an army of Goliaths.
ESPN ranked and reseeded the remaining teams in the NCAA Tournament. They dropped Kentucky to a 3 seed and ranked them as the No. 11 team remaining in the field. Two weeks ago, Kentucky was in contention for one of the top 1 seeds.
Now they are No. 11 overall?
Apparently, the Wildcats get no respect without PJ Washington. Although there is optimism that he will suit up for Kentucky this weekend, the possibility of his absence is enough for many to discard the rest of this talented roster.
“PJ Washington’s ongoing absence due to injury is a real concern for a Kentucky squad that beat Wofford just 62-56 in the second round,” ESPN’s Myron Metcalf wrote. “It was a close game despite Terriers star Fletcher Magee’s missing all 12 of his 3-point attempts. Tyler Herro finished 2-for-11. The team’s 3-for-13 clip from the 3-point line didn’t help, either. Yet, the Wildcats, who got 14 points and 11 rebounds from Reid Travis, prevailed without their best player -- and after Herro went cold -- by playing great defense. Wofford entered the game ranked second in 3-point shooting but recorded a sub-30 percent mark against Kentucky. The Wildcats will advance, but we’re not sure if Washington will play in the next round. That’s why the Wildcats are ranked this low. The Wildcats without Washington still own a talented fleet, but they’re not the same imposing collective.”
Andy Katz gives the Wildcats even less respect, ranking them as the No. 13 team remaining in the tournament. Like ESPN, his opinion is completely based on PJ’s injury.
#Sweet16 Power Rankings from @TheAndyKatz!— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 25, 2019
1. North Carolina
7. Florida State
8. Michigan State
9. Texas Tech
15. Virginia Tech
16. Oregon#MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/qdtr96YsQT
“No PJ Washington made me put them further down in my ranking,” Katz said. “I may regret that, but right now it does not look like he is going to play in the Sweet 16. That’s why I have Kentucky at thirteen.”
Could the Wildcats lose to Houston on Friday and be done for the year? Absolutely. That could happen even if Washington does play. However, the completely devalue the rest of this roster seems like a bit much.
Here’s a look at the entire NCAA Tournament bracket heading into the Sweet 16: