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Where UK stands in Elite Eight rankings

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Only eight teams remain. Where does UK rank among them?

Drew Brown - Sea of Blue

With Kentucky sneaking past a really good Houston team on Friday night and getting PJ Washington back in a big way, you would think the Wildcats would earn the respect they’ve been due since the start of the tournament now that their biggest question has been answered.

Not so fast, though, says NCAA.com’s Andy Katz, as he has Kentucky ranked just #7 out of the remaining eight teams in the country. His list reads:

1. Gonzaga Bulldogs

2. Michigan State Spartans

3. Texas Tech Red Raiders

4. Duke Blue Devils

5. Auburn Tigers

6. Purdue Boilermakers

7. Kentucky Wildcats

8. Virginia Cavaliers

SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell and ESPN’s Myron Medcalf’s Elite Eight lists were a little more favorable, as O’Donnell has Kentucky at #4, and Medcalf has them at #5.

It’s hard to argue between most of these teams and their ranking because at the end of the day, they’re all here for a reason. With the way Kentucky has performed, though, this doesn’t make much sense.

Rather than argue against the other 7, you can just have a look at Kentucky’s numbers through their first three games to justify why their ranking just can’t be right. Kentucky has held their opponents to 52.7 points per game, 36.4% from the field and 28.6% from three point range.

On top of that, PJ Washington returned from injury and looked just like himself, scoring 16 points in a surprising, yet necessary, 26 minutes. Finally, Kentucky has made plays when they’ve needed too. Whether it be clutch defense or shot-making, the Wildcats have answered the bell down the stretch.

It’s tough to split hairs with any of these teams based on their performances whether you mean all season or throughout this tournament, but Kentucky has shown everything they’ve needed too and still can't get any love.

Thankfully, they still have opportunities to move forward to prove and earn it.

To beat Auburn on Sunday, Kentucky will need to show all of this once again. If they can defend these new-look Tigers as well as they’ve defended in this tournament and keep pace with them on the scoreboard, the Wildcats have the chance to make it to Minneapolis.