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Kentucky the first team out in Joe Lunardi’s updated bracket

Kentucky is closing in on must win territory.

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Kentucky Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats’ slow start to the 2020-21 is entering dangerous territory.

With losses to a Georgia Tech team that fell to both Georgia State and Mercer, a mediocre Notre Dame squad, and mid-major Richmond, the Cats find themselves on the outside looking in ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s updated bracketology.

In his latest bracket, Lunardi has 1-4 Kentucky as the first team out of the tournament joining Arizona, Minnesota and SMU as one of the first four teams out.

Of the four teams’ they’ve lost to this season, only two made Lunardi’s bracket with Kansas a 2-seed and Richmond a 9-seed. Both Georgia Tech and Notre Dame were not even mentioned as being among the first four or next four out, meaning they’re far off the grid.

It’s hard to argue Lunardi’s decision to leave Kentucky out. In the updated KenPom ratings, Kentucky does rank 40th but holds losses to Notre Dame, who ranks 76th, Georgia Tech, who ranks 71st and Richmond, who ranks 57th. Their lone win of the season came at home against Morehead State, who ranks 294th.

Thus, Kentucky must start to stack wins with non-conference matchups with UCLA and Louisville on deck, both of whom are in Lunardi’s bracket and rank in the top 26 of the KenPom ratings.