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UK wins, Duke loses so will UK drop in NCAA projections and Duke move up?

Nate Sestina led cheers during UK’s win at Texas A&M Tuesday. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Will Kentucky’s win at Texas A&M Tuesday night lower its seeding the next time bracketologist Joe Lunardi posts his potential pairings for next month’s NCAA Tournament?

Sure, that sounds idiotic but UK dropped last week after it won at LSU and then beat Florida at home even if the Cats did rise to No. 8 this week in the AP rankings and No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Credit ESPN’s Sean Farnham for asking Lunardi on air about UK, a team Farnham believes is capable of winning a national championship.

“Kentucky is playing as well as anybody right now and certainly more deserving of kind of the four-five seed range where the metrics seem to slot them,” Lunardi told Farnham. “Every year there are outliers in these metrics; fewer in the era of the NET than the RPI, certainly.

“But when you look at all the metrics that we do, it makes it easier to identify the outlier. Kentucky is one of them on the positive side. We’ll keep moving them up and we’ll look for some other metrics that seem to overrate some other teams.”

Trouble is that UK’s losses to Evansville in November and Utah in December continue to haunt the Cats. And it seems that a win like the one at Texas A&M doesn’t help that much because it was not a blowout win. Only four of UK’s 15 SEC games have been decided by 10 or more points and Kentucky simply has not been able to put up wins by big numbers.

Of course, then there is Duke — which lost 113-101 at Wake Forest Tuesday. That’s Wake Forest that even with the Duke win has a 12-15 record and likely won’t even make the NIT. Duke also has a December loss to Stephen Austin that was an even bigger upset at the time than UK’s loss to Evansville.

Yet as many UK fans continue to preach, Duke never seems to quite take a NCAA hit like UK does. Why is that?

Lunardi had Duke as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA last week. ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index had Duke at No. 1 last week and UK at 23rd.

That’s why as soon as UK won at Texas A&M some Kentucky fans were already on social media joking that Duke’s seeing would improve while UK’s would drop.

But even UK coach John Calipari couldn’t resist a playful jab at the projected Lunardi seedings after his team’s seventh straight win and 15th in the last 17 games.

Calipari said he heard Kentucky is “a four seed and moving down. I guess we stink.”


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  1. Unbelievable. Just go beat Auburn like a drum Sat UK. All this Net efficiency crap that is all the talk today is just that IMO. I keep saying UK is now 8th in the country, but still gets no respect, Not ever in FOOTBALL, and it is starting to show up in BASKETBALL now. We are talking about the gold standard here folks, KENTUCKY. UK has already won against teams, that according to the metrics, UK should not have beaten. That would be Louisville, Michigan State, and Texas Tech. UK is piling up wins down the stretch here and still some of our own fans on this site are complaining about Coach’s system. Hey, it is what it is.

  2. I think the biggest thing that is hurting us presently is the fact that we have not dominated anyone since the first of the year. Our biggest margin of victory was 14 over Vanderbilt, the last place team in the SEC. No 20+ point wins in Rupp in SEC play in a year when the SEC is down. The nation sees KY as a team that is playing just good enough to win even against lesser teams. The loss at South Carolina may very well be the one that has hurt us the most. Getting manhandled at Auburn certainly didn’t help. We could win out, including the SEC tourney, but if we do so with 12 point or less margins of victory, we are still going to be viewed as a No. 3 seed in the Dance. In years past, winning the SEC season and tourney titles was almost a guarantee of a No. 1 seed in the Dance. We very will may sweep the SEC titles and still end up as a No. 3 seed in the Dance. Has the SEC stepped back that much? I don’t think so, but know it all Joe still has us as the 13th ranked team for seeding purposes. How much will this influence the committee that Mitch is sitting on?

    1. Really? Wow.

      1. Help me see what I am missing. No margin of victory more than 14 points since Jan. 1. We play just good enough to win regardless of how good or how bad the opposition is. This is in a year that the SEC is down significantly. We have played a weaker non conference schedule this season compared to those of the past 10 years. Losing to 4 teams we should have never lost to hasn’t hurt us as much as only having 1 quality win against Louisville and that was at Rupp. The Michigan St. win has become devalued due to their record. LSU is quickly fading away. We got punked by Auburn and barely beat Florida. I am not proud of any of this and you say Really? Wow indeed.

        1. Consider this 33, UK sits at 23-5, and 13-2, good enough for 1st place right now in the SEC, and 8th ranked in the nation. I think it was you under a past handle of “Catmandoo1000” or maybe it was “Mike” who stated in late 2019 that this UK team would not win the SEC or their tournament. True? Could still be true I suppose, but my hopes are on the Cats. I suggest we all let the season play out before we let you and the Professor just up and write the Cats off without a verbal push back. All that ever counts in a national championship game, or any game for that matter, is the final score, and close wins still count. You surly can agree with that, right?

    2. Let me add that as of 2/24/20 Katz has UK on his list of 10 potential teams that he says could win it all. So, not everybody in the nation sees it the way you and the Professor see it. Especially the way UK is playing now after a tough, but impressive road win at A&M. If UK wins the SEC regular season title, and the SEC tournament, and they are not a 1 or 2 seed in the big dance, it is a rigged system, and plain bias against the SEC.

  3. I don’t think last night’s games change the seeding in any significant way. UK won, just as it should have won based on its entire body of work. As for Duke, the 2 seed that everyone seems to talk about in my opinion was already too low, and I don’t think Duke’s upset loss last night should move them to the 3 line. So I think they should remain at the 2 line as most already have them.

  4. The #1 ANE team has won 10 of the last 18 NCAA Championships, and the #2 or #3 team won 5 more, leaving 3 outliers at #8, #10, and #15.

    Yep, sounds like a load of crap to me.

    1. Professor,
      Who are the top 8 teams according to the ANE right now?

      1. OldFan, Pomeroy has his top eight as Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga , San Diego St, Duke, Dayton, Mich State, and Maryland. Duke has the same won loss record as UK, and has some eye raising losses. Eight of the top 20 most efficient teams in the land according to KP are teams with 7, 8. 9, and 10 losses. UK has already logged victories against 3 in the top 15. I will say this, Kansas and Baylor will be a load, no doubt, but so will UK if they are hitting on all 8. I believe UK can win it all if they can defend.

    2. Go put your money on those teams then Professor. All you and 33 do of late is whine about Calipari, and according to you, how sorry this UK team is based of efficiency rankings. UK is getting the shaft, and most of us fans see that. Duke has some bad losses too in their body of work, including the demon deacons now. They were supposed to win last night too, were they not? If they are a true No. 2 seed after last night, I’m the Pope. The big reason they are is called the ACC.

  5. I believe Kansas has a better than 50% probability of winning the 2020 tournament. I believe the remainder of the top 8 have nearly all of the remaining probability distributed among them.

    What ever probability is left over, and it is small, that probability is distributed among the next 7 teams in the ANE rankings.

    Any team that is #20 or higher will not win this championship this year or any year in the foreseeable future. UK is current in the mid to high 20s and has been in that range for almost the entire season.

    UK is the most efficient team in a weak 2020 SEC field.

  6. What is the difference between Ignorance and Stupidity?
    • Ignorance is a state of being in the dark without knowledge.
    • Stupidly is having the knowledge but not applying it to make mistakes again and again.
    • Ignorance is forgivable; stupidity is not.
    • Ignorant is one who has the potential but lacks knowledge.
    • Stupidity is incapability to understand while ignorance is not an impediment to knowledge.

    1. Wow, how condescending. Professor, let’s take a team like Dayton. Who have they really played besides Kansas? Look at their schedule. They did take Kansas to overtime, but lost. But what does that say about Kansas? Yet they are in the top 8 most efficient teams in the land based on offensive and defensive stats. You don’t think UK could play with Dayton should they face them in the big dance, and win? Or any of those teams in the top 10 of most efficient? If I had to pick the most dangerous team to face right now it would be the Baylor Bears. I still believe UK could play with anybody in the country right now, and have a shot to win, I’m not the only one saying that either. But I could be wrong. If UK wins it all, we’ll just let you chalk it up to luck to save face, ok?

    2. What is the definition of a Blow-hard:

      a person who blusters and boasts in an unpleasant way.

      Come down from the mountain Prof

  7. Condescending? I have put up with your condescension for the longest time. Projection is a wonderful tendency, isn’t it.

    1. Well I hurriedly admit I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and all I know is this Professor, the AP top 25 has UK at No. 8 now. I guess that means very little to you stat heads, but to us real UK fans, it’s a big deal based on were they were a month or two ago. Not all the the AP top 25 are in the top 10 most efficient teams either as I recall. Louisville is not even in the AP top 10. To write UK off like you have is a violation of team rules to some of us diehards. I’ll leave it at that. I guess you disagree with Coach Buzz at A&M on his Calipari comments too, right? Just checking you out. The only teams I worry about on the most efficient list are the top three. It seems the same three are atop the AP top 25. But according to the Professor, UK has no chance since at last check they are at lowly No. 26 on the efficiency list. To that I say BS.

      1. Pup, you need to get a grip. This team is not feared by anyone because they know they will always be in the game, even if they do lose in the last couple of minutes. Other than Eastern KY and FDU, we have not put away anyone. With our schedule and the level of the SEC, we should be a one loss team and but we pissed away 4 games that we should have easily won. That’s why Lunardi has us as a 4 seed…we haven’t beat anyone outside of Louisville. We have a chance for a good win on Saturday, but with it being played at Rupp, its weighted value is considerably less than it would have been if we had won at Auburn. A win against Florida in Gainesville will help, but that is not a given. We had better hope that we play Auburn again in the SEC tourney along with Florida or LSU, and win. That is the only way we get a No. 2 seed in the Dance and that will also depend on some other teams getting beat. It’s not my system, its not fair, but it is how we are being measured for play in the NCAA tournament. Katz and Williams comments mean nothing in that regard.
        As for Williams comments, I don’t agree with him. Calipari is a good coach, but far from a great coach. He has had 6 loaded teams here at KY that were capable of being some NBA teams and only has one national championship to show for it. That is the ONLY stat that matters here at KY. I had high hopes when he came here, but he has not delivered, period.

        1. 33, If you are not Catmandoo and Mike all rolled into one then there is not a cow in Texas. You sound just like those two Kentucky trash talkers who disappeared like a leaf in late 2019 because they couldn’t take the heat from us real UK fans. I think now they were one in the same, and their mystery disappearance has now been solved in you 33. I have smoked you out. Another thing, I like Katz’s and Coach Burr’s opinion on all things Kentucky better than yours and the Professor’s. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. I also like the 8th ranked team in the land’s chances of winning it all, and could care less what you “dooms day” pilgrims are saying. One more thing for you to try and grasp, Kentucky is fortunate to have John Calipari leading this program. I will now attempt to tell you what is going on with Lanardi and the so called experts. They want to give Kentucky the toughest path forward in the big dance, it’s that simple. It’s been that way for years and it ain’t changing in this metric driven system, which IMO is nonsense. UK has already beaten three of the top 15 teams in the metric evaluation. One at their home and one on a neutral court. UK could line up and play with any of those teams in the top 10 most efficient rank today and win. Their record down the stretch is proving it. Let’s take a close look at Duke now. They have some bad losses too on their resume, and close wins, yet are getting special treatment. I also seem to recall seeing where UK could possibly be placed in the same bracket as Baylor, Louisville, LSU, Florida, and I think Mich State. That would be facing potentially the No 1 seed, and four teams UK has already beaten in 2020. If you boys are truly UK fans, how about acting like it instead of a bunch of know it all’s who do nothing but trash this UK team and their Coach. I don’t like it, and will say so. So bring it on dude. Your two opinions don’t mean anymore than anyone else’s on this site.

          1. I meant Coach Buzz Williams the A&M coach above.

  8. Pup I’m with you about Professor numbers there baseless the game is played on the hardwood and he’s going to eat his crow when this team proves him wrong come in March.

  9. Baseless? OK what basis do you form your opinions Cats79, because I say your opinions are the ones that are baseless.

    Some time ago, you said I got facts wrong, but you refuse to say what facts I get wrong. Now, baseless?

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but opinions are not self certifying. I provide an objective basis for my conclusions, each and every one of them.

    Give me a basis other that the silly opinion polls that have absolutely no basis beyond the subjective collective belief of those who can vote.

  10. Yes everybody is entitled to there opinion, but this team has already surprise some of the opinion that has been written on this blog as far how the regular season will unfold and Professor your opinion will be next.

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