Ranking Kentucky's Remaining Games By Difficulty

Drew Franklinover 3 years

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Aritcle written by:Drew FranklinDrew Franklin

DrewFranklinKSR

Kentucky's resume isn't as glamorous as we had hoped it would be at this point in the season. With disappointing losses against UCLA, South Carolina and Florida, Kentucky will need to win some big games to make up for the hiccups it has already had along the way. Twelve games remain on UK's regular season schedule, and as it stands now, the Cats will be the underdog in six of them. That will of course change from game to game as the season progresses, but this is how the games rank in order of difficulty as of today's state of college basketball.  
1.) @ West Virginia Sat, Jan 27 Disregard West Virginia's loss at TCU last night; West Virginia is the toughest opponent the Cats will face the rest of the year. WVU Coliseum will be an atmosphere unlike anything Kentucky has seen --- those people are crazy --- and the Mountaineers are the best team in college basketball at forcing turnovers, which is one of Kentucky's biggest weaknesses as a young team. Expect absolute pandemonium in Morgantown this coming Saturday. Win Probability: 17.8%
2.) @ Florida Sat, Mar 3 After losing to Florida as a home favorite this past weekend, it's tough to have high expectations for the return trip to Gainesville for the rematch. It will be Senior Day for Egor Koulechov, Chris Chiozza and John Egbunu; three of the Gators' best players. There could also be regular season SEC title implications on the line, at least for one of the teams involved in the game. Win Probability: 27.0%
3.) @ Auburn Wed, Feb 14 Bruce Pearl has Auburn playing its best basketball in over a decade, as he was expected to do. The Tigers have only one loss in conference and they are ranked in the top 25 for the first time in 14 years. The good news is Kentucky has only one loss to Auburn in 18 years; however, that loss came in 2016, the last time John Calipari's team made the trip south. Win Probability: 27.7%
4.) @ Texas A&M Sat, Feb 10 Kentucky earned a narrow win over Texas A&M in the first meeting with only seven scholarship players available on the roster. The Cats will hopefully be at full strength for Round 2, but College Station will present a much tougher challenge than the friendly confines of Rupp Arena. Three of UK's last four games in Reed Arena have gone to overtime. Win Probability: 34.2%
5.) @ Arkansas Tue, Feb 20 The road trip to Arkansas will present another difficult task for the Cats, but it's one to circle as a potential steal. Unranked LSU went to Fayetteville two weeks ago and beat the Razorbacks by 21 points, but that is the Razorbacks' only home loss in 11 games this season. Win Probability: 35.4%
6.) @ Missouri Sat, Feb 3 Kentucky's most-winnable road test, according to the BPI projections, will be its game against Missouri the weekend after next. The Tigers have marquee home wins over Tennessee and Georgia, but Florida snuck out of Columbia with a victory on a wild finish at the buzzer in Mizzou's only loss at home. Win Probability: 38.3%
7.) vs. Tennessee Tue, Feb 6 For Kentucky to hold the season together, it will have to defend its home floor. Florida snapped a 30-game SEC win streak this past weekend and another loss in Rupp would be devastating to UK's resume. The toughest of those remaining home games will be the one against Tennessee, which already has a win over the Cats this season. The BPI predicts the rematch will be close to a coin flip, despite the home court advantage for Kentucky. Win Probability: 52.6%
8.) vs. Missouri Sat, Feb 24 Missouri is the only team that Kentucky still has to play twice in the regular season. Winning one is a must; winning two would be great. Win Probability: 69.5%
9.) vs. Alabama Sat, Feb 17 One of the SEC's best players, Collin Sexton, will put the Crimson Tide on his back in trying to upset Kentucky in the only meeting between Alabama and Kentucky this season. Bama freshman John Petty will also get up for that one, considering he was once a VERY strong UK lean before he eventually signed with Avery Johnson. Those two guards give Alabama a chance, but it's still a game Kentucky should be pretty confident in winning. Win Probability: 72.2%
10.) vs. Mississippi State Tue, Jan 23 Tuesday night's game against Mississippi State is a must-win game. Kentucky enters the game on a two-game losing streak, and John Calipari has never lost three in a row during his time in Lexington. If the Cats were to lose to the Bulldogs, we'd really start sweating out the NCAA tournament bid. Win Probability: 80.9%
11.) vs. Ole Miss Wed, Feb 28 Ole Miss will be the opponent when Kentucky celebrates Senior Day for the home finale. The problem with that is, Kentucky does not have any seniors, therefore there will be no celebration. The good news is, Ole Miss hasn't won in Rupp Arena in 20 years. Win Probability: 82.0%
12.) vs. Vanderbilt Tue, Jan 30 The easiest remaining game on the schedule comes a week from today when Vanderbilt travels to Lexington for revenge. Kentucky won down in Nashville without Quade Green or Jarred Vanderbilt in uniform, so it should be able to handle its business once again. Win Probability: 83.6%
(Win Probability determined by College Basketball Power Index)

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2021-09-22