The margin between Kentucky and Auburn is so close that the final 1 seed may very well come down to a potential SEC Tournament Championship Game matchup between the two SEC rivals.
If the Kentucky Wildcats are to move up to a 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament, they’re going to need help getting there.
Thankfully, they got just that tonight.
Coming into the day, Kentucky was ranked No. 6 overall on Joe Lunardi’s NCAA Tournament s-curve, while Kansas was barely ahead at No. 4. The Horned Frogs came into the day ranked No. 49 in NET and projected as a 9 seed in the Big Dance, so it’s not a terrible loss for the Jayhawks.
Still, it’s one that should knock Kansas out of a 1 seed for the time being. Considering the Auburn Tigers are currently No. 5 in Lunardi’s ranking, you have to imagine they’re now back to a 1 seed.
However, Auburn still has tomorrow night’s road game against a Mississippi State team that could jump into the field of 68 with a win. The Tigers then return to host South Carolina on Saturday, a game that’s very hard to see Bruce Pearl’s team losing.
Then there’s of course the SEC Tournament, where a head-to-head win over Auburn while winning the tournament could propel Kentucky into that final 1 seed spot.
Regardless, Kansas losing tonight was huge for Kentucky’s hopes of getting a 1 seed. It also knocked the Jayhawks down to 23-6 overall on the season compared to 24-6 for the Wildcats, who have now managed to build their lead in the all-time wins race.
The Jayhawks entered the season just four games behind Kentucky, so they’re now five games back with two regular-season games left and potentially three Big 12 Tournament games, followed by the NCAA Tournament.
While it’s certainly no done deal, Kentucky is now one step closer to ensuring their lead in the all-time wins race remains intact heading into the offseason.