The Wildcats were clearly on the bubble. While Kentucky had a great regular season and played a strong out-of-conference schedule, going 20-21 down the stretch proved to be their undoing.
As with any subjective selection committee, there are going to be things that hold more weight when it comes to selecting the 64 most deserving teams.
The Cats finished with a sub-.500 record in the Southeastern Conference, and were obviously punished for it. The SEC, with 10 teams in the tournament, was the best conference in the nation. Florida, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Georgia all hold top seeds in the tournament.
Kentucky has every right to be upset for not being included by the committee. The Wildcats have a Top 30 RPI and hold wins against Texas Tech (also a Top 16 seed and host site), Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi State and South Carolina. All six of those teams are in the tournament.
Had Kentucky held on and defeated Auburn last week in Hoover at the SEC Championship, the committee may have allowed the Cats into the field of 64. But, when you’re on the bubble, losses like that one hurt.
The Cats will likely lose a bunch of talent to next week’s Major League Baseball Draft. Hopefully Coach Nick Mingione is able to regroup, recruit and reload for a dynamite season in 2019.