John Calipari and Kentucky can't count on 20 wins to get the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Every time the University of Louisville loses a college basketball game people wonder if the stumble will cost the Cardinals a Number Seed for the NCAA Tournament.
Every time the University of Kentucky loses a game, a different question percolates:
Will a loss like the one the Wildcats endured Tuesday night at Alabama keep Kentucky out of the NCAA Tournament?
Captain Bracketology, Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com, had John Calipari's team perched on the 10-seed line before their trip to Tuscaloosa. The Wildcats were not listed as one of the last four in.
Ken Pomeroy's computer projection still has the Wildcats progressing to a 21-10 regular season with a 12-6 record in Southeastern Conference play.
If the Wildcats get to 21 wins, would that put Kentucky in the NCAA field?
Probably, but it's no lock. Eleven SEC teams with 20 or more wins have missed the NCAA Tournament over the last five seasons. It depends upon the teams that Kentucky beats. The blessing of the SEC (winnable games) is also a burden (few quality wins).
According to Pomeroy, only three other SEC teams (Florida, Mississippi and Missouri) are ranked among the top 60 in the nation.
Jeff Sagarin also includes Arkansas (59) in his top 60, but UK is booked for a March trip to Fayetteville.
Some say the computer formula that the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee prefers is the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). Kentucky is 1-6 against Top 100 competition.
The only SEC schools ranked in the RPI top 75 are Florida (5), Missouri (24), Ole Miss (32), Alabama (51), Texas A&M (57) and Arkansas (83).
Kentucky has six games remaining against that group – four on the road.
Here is the list of 11 SEC teams that have won 20 or more games and not been invited to the NCAA Tournament over the last five seasons:
2012: Miss State (21), Ole Miss (20).
2011: Ole Miss (20).
2010: Ole Miss (21), Miss State (23).
2009: Auburn (22), South Carolina (21), Florida (23), UK (20).