At the peril of contradicting the business press out there that keeps pedaling the storyline of a sluggish economy, in the world of college basketball there is one growth market experiencing quite the employment surge: Bracketologists.
There seems to be a new one popping up to post about every single day. And yet most appear have come to the same conclusion.
If the Big Dance were to commence today, Kentucky would not be in the NCAA Tournament.
Is this a surprise?
First of all, check your calendars. The tournament is not going to be held today. We’re not even to the conference tournaments yet. If you’re Kentucky, you have six regular-season games left. Four of those are at home. Two are on the road. If it were not for the fact you just lost by 30 points at Tennessee, you might see a lot of opportunity there.
Second of all, how could UK be considered a legitimate tournament team when the Cats have yet to secure a marquee win. Look at the computer printouts. Math maven Jeff Sagarin has Kentucky at No. 20 in his latest data-driven rankings. But here is the key stat: Kentucky is 0-4 against Sagarin’s Top 25. It has lost to Florida (2), Louisville (3), Duke (6) and Baylor (24). Kentucky is 2-5 against Sagarin’s Top 50. Its wins are over Ole Miss (38) and Maryland (50). Add Notre Dame (33) to the losses.
To these eyes, it’s dark road ahead without Nerlens Noel. But after Wednesday’s game with visiting Vanderbilt, the Cats welcome the ESPN College GameDay crew and Missouri to Rupp Arena on Saturday. Missouri is current No. 21 in the Sagarin Rankings. (Though the Tigers play host to Florida tonight.) Missouri is currently 38th in the RPI. Kentucky is 45th.
Anyway, here’s one of the more well-known bracketologists, Joe Lunardi, talking about why UK is out, right now, as far as he’s concerned. Subject to change.