By LARRY VAUGHT
ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi spoke with media Wednesday about his latest bracket predictions heading into Championship Week and what teams need to do to close out the season. Lunardi has been projecting the NCAA Tournament field for ESPN.com since its inception.
He was asked about what the ceiling seed-wise could be for Kentucky after UK coach John Calipari earlier in the week noted that some power indexes could project UK as a NO. 1 seed despite already having six losses.
So what would be the best possible seed for Kentucky?
“I think a 3. Their résumé on paper, for a good team, is average at best,” Lunardi said. “Like I can name 10 to 12 teams that, if they stopped playing the sport now, Kentucky can’t pass. That’s not a knock. I picked them to win the national championship. My job is to tell you what is today.”
It doesn’t help UK that the Southeastern Conference is 8-40 against ranked teams.
“Well, it’s certainly not at the level that the PAC-12 was a couple of years ago when the outright regular-season champion, I believe it was Washington, was 13-3 and didn’t get an at-large bid because the entire league had won RPI top 25 win that year. It’s not that bad, if you want to go truly historic. But it’s not that good,” Lunardi said.
“It’s going to hurt Kentucky’s seed. That’s another unpopular opinion of mine in certain social media circles. But I think it’s completely justified. Kentucky, by its own standards, has been inconsistent. It has not been dominant even in a poor SEC. It has lost, I think, every game to the three or four best teams on its schedule. To me that does not scream, you know, 2 or 3 seed. It screams more like 5 or 6 unless they beat Florida to end the regular season or in Atlanta.”