Is Saturday really last chance for quality win?


Glenn Logan writes for A Sea of Blue about the importance of Saturday’s Kentucky-Louisville matchup, especially with regards to how it might effect seedings for the two schools once the NCAA Tournament rolls around.

In his piece, Glenn makes the argument that both UK and U of L have failed to this point to earn a high-quality non-conference win, and both schools play in “relatively weak” conferences, which lessen the chances of getting impressive wins.

But is that true?


Unfortunately for both teams, they play (at least this year) in relatively weak basketball conferences with what now looks like few opportunities to play top ranked foes in their conference schedule. For Louisville, right now it looks like only the Memphis Tigers, whom they will play twice, will be there. It is also possible that the Connecticut Huskies may be in the top 25 as well, and Cincinnati could also possibly wind up there for a short time, even though that doesn’t look all that likely.

Kentucky is faced with a similarly difficult situation, since only the Florida Gators and Missouri Tigers appear in a position to be ranked, although LSU has received a random vote or two and could wind up making the grade at some point in the season.

The bottom line is that both teams need this win pretty badly. While there doesn’t seem to be a dominant team in college basketball this season, #1 seeds with only one or two top 25 wins seem somewhat unlikely to me. This game has become very important for NCAA seeding purposes.

But if you look at the Sagarin ratings, Louisville and Kentucky each have chances at conference wins that could help their respective cases come Selection Sunday.

Right now, Sagarin ranks the American Athletic Conference as the sixth-best league in college basketball, followed by the SEC at No. 7.

Both conferences have five schools with teams currently ranked in the Top 50 by Sagarin’s computer. That means that there are at least four chances for each school to earn a decent conference victory. In fact, Louisville has more chances to achieve that considering the ACC is playing a home-and-home conference schedule where the SEC is not.

Here is a look at how many top 50 Sagarin teams are in each conference:

ACC (7)

  • 14. Duke
  • 15. Syracuse
  • 21. Florida State
  • 22. Pittsburgh
  • 31. North Carolina
  • 33. Virginia
  • 44. Clemson

Big 10 (7)

  • 5. Ohio State
  • 6. Wisconsin
  • 7. Iowa
  • 8. Michigan State
  • 23. Michigan
  • 40. Minnesota
  • 42. Illinois

Pac-12 (6)

  • 1. Arizona
  • 12. Oregon
  • 25. Colorado
  • 29. UCLA
  • 34. Arizona State
  • 48. Stanford

Big 12 (6)

  • 2. Oklahoma State
  • 4. Iowa State
  • 9. Kansas
  • 37. Baylor
  • 45. Oklahoma
  • 50. Texas

SEC (5)

  • 16. Kentucky
  • 17. Florida
  • 26. Arkansas
  • 35. LSU
  • 41. Missouri

American Athletic (5)

  • 10. Louisville
  • 20. Memphis
  • 28. Cincinnati
  • 30. Connecticut
  • 43. SMU

Big East (4) 

  • 3. Villanova
  • 19. Creighton
  • 38. Georgetown
  • 49. Marquette

Atlantic 10 (3)

  • 13. UMass
  • 36. Saint Louis
  • 39. VCU

Mountain West (3)

  • 18. San Diego State
  • 46. Boise State
  • 47. New Mexico

West Coast (2)

  • 24. Gonzaga
  • 27. BYU

Ivy (1)

  • 32. Harvard

MVC (1)

  • 11. Wichita State

Photo of Louisville’s Russ Smith vs. FIU by Lynne Sladky/AP

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