NCAA Resume Watch: Kentucky has no room for error entering final stretch

On3 imageby:Tyler Thompson02/12/24


Last week provided Kentucky the perfect opportunity to rebound from the losses to Florida and Tennessee. The Cats aced the first part of the test, dominating a bad Vanderbilt team in Nashville. Unfortunately, the feel-good vibes didn’t last long. On Saturday, Kentucky lost to an unranked Gonzaga team, marking the first time in program history the Cats have lost three straight in Rupp Arena.

You don’t need me to tell you how bad Saturday was. What damage did it do to Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament resume? Because Gonzaga is in the Top 30 of the NET Rankings (No. 24 today, one spot ahead of Kentucky), the game is in Quad 1, where losses don’t hurt you as much; however, it is an opportunity missed. Of the Quad 1 games left on the schedule, Saturday’s was the easiest. Three of the four remaining Quad 1 games are on the road and the other is vs. Alabama, the No. 5 team in the NET. If the Cats want a decent seed in the NCAA Tournament, they not only can’t afford any more slipups, but they’re also going to have to pull off some upsets. Keep stumbling and the bubble enters the conversation. No pressure!

As we’ll do each Monday until Selection Sunday, let’s look at Kentucky’s team sheet, which the Selection Committee will use as it determines the Cats’ seed in the NCAA Tournament.

  • Quad 1: 2-5 (4 games remaining)
  • Quad 2: 3-1 (2 games remaining)
  • Quad 3: 5-1 (1 game remaining)
  • Quad 4: 6-0 (1 game remaining)

Quad 1: 2-5

Home: 1-30 | Neutral: 1-50 | Away: 1-75

63/9/2024at Tennessee
602/03/2024TennesseeL 92-103
72/17/2024at Auburn
1012/16/2023North Carolina (CBS Sports Classic)W 87-83
1211/14/2023Kansas (Champions Classic)L 84-89
2402/10/2024GonzagaL 85-89
3101/06/2024at FloridaW 87-85
362/27/2024at Mississippi State
3701/13/2024at Texas A&ML 92-97 (1 OT)
4501/23/2024at South CarolinaL 62-79

Quad 2: 3-1

Home: 31-75 | Neutral: 51-100 | Away: 76-135

311/31/2024FloridaL 91-94 (1 OT)
361/17/2024Mississippi StateW 90-77
582/13/2024Ole Miss
6911/28/2023Miami (FL)W 95-73
942/21/2024at LSU
1281/27/2024at ArkansasW 63-57

Quad 3: 5-1

Home: 76-160 | Neutral: 101-200 | Away: 136-240

951/20/2024GeorgiaW 105-96
9611/20/2023Saint Joseph’sW 96-88 (1 OT)
10112/2/2023UNC WilmingtonL 73-80
1531/9/2024MissouriW 90-77
17612/21/2023at LouisvilleW 95-76
23802/06/2024at VanderbiltW 109-77

Quad 4: 6-0

Home: 161-362 | Neutral: 201-362 | Away: 241-362

20912/9/2023Penn (Neutral)W 81-66
21512/29/2023Illinois StateW 96-70
21611/24/2023MarshallW 118-82
26711/6/2023New Mexico StateW 86-46
32711/10/2023Texas A&M-CommerceW 81-61
35811/17/2023StonehillW 101-67

Team Sheet Notes

— Best way to improve the resume? Win one (or both!) of the toughest games left on the schedule: at Auburn (Feb. 17) or at Tennesseee (March 9). The Tigers lost at Florida by double digits on Saturday; tomorrow, they host No. 15 South Carolina. College Gameday is coming to Auburn for Saturday’s game. If the Cats can pull off an upset, it would truly be impressive.

— Mississippi State is up eight spots in the NET since last Monday after wins over Georgia and Missouri. Kentucky’s trip to Starkville on Feb. 27 will be difficult. Six days prior, the Cats go to Baton Rouge to play LSU. Kentucky’s road record this season is not good, but that trip could be especially tricky. The Tigers have lost five of their last six but stayed with Alabama on Saturday until the Crimson Tide cracked the game open in the final minutes.

— In a testament to just how bad Vanderbilt is, the Commodores are now No. 238 in the NET. If they fall below 240, last Tuesday’s win will move to Quad 4. Because it’s a win, that doesn’t really matter, but it’s further proof that the 32-point drubbing of the Dores was essentially meaningless.

The Road Ahead

Here is where each remaining game sits on the team sheet according to the current NET rankings. Tomorrow night, Kentucky hosts an Ole Miss team that had a week off following a loss at No. 15 South Carolina. The Cats have to regroup to avoid another loss, which would be their fourth straight in Rupp and second in Quad 2. As mentioned, Saturday’s game at Auburn is huge, right up there with the season finale in Knoxville as the biggest in terms of resume left on the Cats’ schedule.

2/13/2024Ole Miss58Quad 2
2/17/2024at Auburn7Quad 1
2/21/2024at LSU94Quad 2
2/24/2024Alabama5Quad 1
2/27/2024at Mississippi St.36Quad 1
3/2/2024Arkansas128Quad 3
3/6/2024Vanderbilt238Quad 4
3/9/2024at Tennessee6Quad 1

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