Despite its back-to-back losses last week, the Kentucky basketball team remains in the Top 20 in Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky basketball fans should never utter a discouraging word about Jeff Sagarin. A fruit basket appears to be in order. Chocolate would work. I'd recommend a finish-line box for the Blue Grass Stakes.
What has Sagarin done to earn such love?
Check his college basketball computer rankings.
Despite the Wildcats' 30-point loss at Tennessee Saturday, Kentucky still registers at Number 17 in Sagarin's latest college basketball computer power rankings (the predictor edition).
That is ahead of Cincinnati, Kansas State, Memphis and a string of other teams that are projected to make the NCAA Tournament.
Sagarin's numbers, as well as the numbers of Ken Pomeroy, are not as harsh on the Wildcats as most observers. Despite a 14-point drop in Pomeroy, Kentucky still shows up at Number 28, which would place them in the 68-team NCAAA field – if the Pomeroy ratings were the primary tool used to pick the field.
They aren't. Neither are the Sagarin ratings.
The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee considers the computer numbers, including the Ratings Percentage Index. But it also looks at overall performance and the quality of a team's victories.
Check the RPI. Kentucky is 44th without a victory against a Top 50 RPI opponent.
Saturday's game against Missouri in Rupp Arena (as well as Vanderbilt's visit Wednesday) have moved into Must Win status. The Tigers have an RPI of 37 – and shrivel on the road (1-5 in SEC play).
Most NCAA bracket projections no longer include Kentucky after the Wildcats lost to Florida and Tennessee and are facing the remainder of the season without center Nerlens Noel.
But Jeff Sagarin is trying. He lives somewhere in Bloomington, Ind. I'm pretty certain he enjoys fruit.
And for the record, Louisville and Indiana fans can also contribute. He's got the Hoosiers and Cardinals in the national top three.
Here are the latest computer ratings for the three local teams: