Here’s a look at the five teams in front of Kentucky in the RPI.
No. 46 Akron – The Zips are 23-5 overall and 13-1 in the Mid-American Conference, but is coming off an 81-67 loss at Buffalo.Their strength of schedule ranks 136th in the RPI. They have two games remaining, both at home. Miami of Ohio comes to Akron tonight. Kent State plays at Akron on Friday. Has a good win over Middle Tennessee on December 2. If you are UK, you root for the Zips to win the MAC Tournament.
No. 47 Notre Dame – If you are Kentucky, you root for Louisville on Saturday. It’s a must. The Irish is 22-7 heading into tonight’s game against St. John’s in South Bend. Then they play at U of L on Saturday in a rematch of that five-overtime thriller last month. Mike Brey’s team is 3-2 since that game. Its strength of schedule ranks 75th.
No. 48 Louisiana Tech – The Techsters are 25-3 overall and are a perfect 16-0 in the WAC. They have not played a team in the RPI Top 25 and have a strength of schedule ranking of 206. They opened the season with a 12-point loss at Texas A&M, plus have losses to Northwestern State and McNeese State. If Bulldogs don’t win the WAC Tournament, doubt they make the dance.
No. 49 Cincinnati – The Bearcats lost for the sixth time in their last eight games, falling 67-51 at Louisville on Monday night. That left Mick Cronin’s club at 20-10 overall and 8-9 in the Big East. UC is 1-4 against teams ranked in the RPI Top 25. One thing in UC’s favor, its strength of schedule is ranked 20th by the RPI. At this point, however, I don’t see Cincinnati making the field.
No. 50 Oregon – The Ducks are 23-6 overall and 12-4 in the Pac-12. They are 2-0 against teams in the RPI Top 25. And they are playing well, having won five of their last six. The one loss was a two-point loss to California at home. Their strength of schedule is not the best, however, No. 102 in RPI. The Ducks finish the regular season on the road, at Colorado on Thursday and at Utah on Saturday. Outside of a total collapse, I think Oregon will be dancing.