KENTUCKY - The Wildcats breezed through February and proved their mettle with tough road wins at Vanderbilt and Mississippi State plus a 20 point home blowout win over Florida. In the process, Kentucky wrapped up their 45th SEC crown and are closing in on a perfect SEC record. Kentucky has one game left, at Florida, which will be a tough game, and then will head into the SEC Tournament as the number one seed and the NCAA as a probable number one seed there. To be honest, it’s hard to see UK losing to Florida or in the SEC Tournament, the way they are playing and a national title seems to be a destiny for this team. If things go as expected, Kentucky should be in the position to add 9-10 wins to their total.
KANSAS – Like Kentucky, Kansas seems assured of a number one seed in the Big 12 Tournament, barring a stumbled versus Texas on 3/3 and a quick exit from the Big 12 Tournament. Kansas split a pair of games versus Missouri and also claimed impressive wins over Baylor and Kansas State. Kansas has won seven in a row and won the Big 12 for yet another year. Kansas will likely have to earn their NCAA seeding versus Missouri in the Big 12 Final and both of those games have been very close. Once in the tournament, you have to like Kansas for a Final Four spot as well. Let’s pencil in the Jayhawks in for 8-9 more wins.
NORTH CAROLINA - Of all the teams, North Carolina has the toughest route to a number one seed in the NCAA as they will have to beat Duke twice to get there. Duke handed North Carolina their only loss of the month at the Dean Dome, so North Carolina has the unenviable task of winning at Cameron Indoor on Saturday. If North Carolina can win on the road, they will win the ACC and the top seed for the ACC Tournament. The Tar Heels have a solid shot at a Final Four but may have to do it as a number two, which means they could be paired as the number two to either Kentucky or Kansas. In head to head matchups, I think UNC beats Kansas and falls to Kentucky. As for predicting wins, it’s easy to see UNC adding about 7-8 more.
Not knowing the seedings, it’s hard to predict how teams will finish out. Since this is a Kentucky site, lets try to be realistic. I expect Kentucky to win the NCAA and claim those six wins. Since UK has a 20 game losing streak, let’s say they get trumped by Florida at Gainesville or fall in the SEC Tournament. I don’t think Kentucky NEEDS to lose, but don’t want to be boring and give UK another 10 wins. So let’s say Kentucky adds 9 wins to their total. You have to flip a coin between Kansas and Missouri should they meet in the Big 12 Finals. Right now, I like Kansas. And I like them for the Final Four. Not knowing the seedings, they could battle UNC in a regional final as I said, I like both UNC and UK over Kansas. Let’s give Kansas 8 more wins. UNC is the true wildcard here. They could lose two games to Duke and still get a number two seeding, which could put them in Kentucky or Kansas’s bracket. I expect them to lose at Cameron on Saturday but beat Duke if they meet on a neutral floor in the ACC. Once in the tournament, I think that Kentucky is the only team that can beat them, so lets give them 8 more wins. which would put them in the NCAA Finals.
KENTUCKY — 2090
KANSAS — 2071
NORTH CAROLINA — 2067