Kentucky basketball: Could Wildcats miss NCAA Tournament and head to NIT?

Facebook comments can be a dangerous place to measure fans’ temperature, especially Kentucky fans after an 85-74 loss Saturday night to Texas A&M — the Wildcats’ third consecutive defeat.

Here’s a quick peek at some comments after UK’s loss Saturday:

“NIT bound. If they get into the tournament and make a run I’ll be shocked.” 

“Too late to work, it’s over. March, NIT.” 

“I hope they don’t face Robert Morris in the NIT.” 

“Do they think they will go to NCAA Tournament. Ha! They will be lucky to (get) to NIT.” 

“We shouldn’t even accept an NIT bid if offered. Cal could use that as a lesson.” 

There were several more three-letter comments: “NIT.”

But how likely is it that Kentucky (17-8, 6-6 SEC) misses the NCAA Tournament for just the third time this century? Not very.

Kentucky has a 97 percent chance to make the NCAA Tournament, according to ESPN Stats & Info. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi slotted the Cats as a No. 5 seed before their loss to the Aggies. That’s sure to drop, but not drastically.

CBS’ bracketology has Kentucky as a No. 7 seed, opening play against 10th-seeded Providence.

RELATED: There’s still time for Kentucky, but John Calipari is right when he says ‘it’s getting old’ 

Kentucky in the rankings

RPI: 18th

KenPom: 32nd

College basketball power index: 37th

Kentucky ranks 7th in strength of schedule, according to the RPI. KenPom ranks Kentucky 9th in strength of schedule.

Kentucky’s schedule has boosted its resume, but the Cats are just 1-5 against the RPI top-25.

Kentucky’s upcoming schedule (RPI ranking)

Wednesday: at Auburn (7)

Saturday: vs. Alabama (31)

Feb. 20: at Arkansas (30)

Feb. 24: vs. Missouri (22)

Feb. 28: vs. Ole Miss (100)

March 3: at Florida (43)

Kentucky has lost three consecutive games for the first time in John Calipari’s tenure, and that streak is likely to move to four when Auburn (22-3, 10-2 SEC) hosts Kentucky on Valentine’s Day.

Calipari’s squad likely will be favored in three of its six remaining games. If that’s the case, Kentucky is on pace to finish 20-11 and 9-9 in the SEC. Even without a strong showing in the SEC Tournament, that likely will be enough for the Cats to go dancing and avoid the NIT.

The post Kentucky basketball: Could Wildcats miss NCAA Tournament and head to NIT? appeared first on SEC Country.

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