Feb 5, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari sits on the bench during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated South Carolina 77-55. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Wildcat Basketball: A Real Time RPI Bubble Watch

Last week Kentucky’s RPI jumped from 61 to the safer 54. As we mentioned, the RPI top 60 have a 50% chance of making an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

After Saturday’s win at Texas A&M, Kentucky managed to see their RPI land at 46, increasing their at-large bid-likelyhood to 92.5%.

Kentucky currently stands at 45 however. See, unlike the Aggies, who marked another RPI Top 100 victory (77), something Kentucky only has 4 more chances of in their final 10 regular season games, Tuesday’s victory against South Carolina (197) barely cracked the 200’s.

If we look at the formula for the RPI, we’ll see the reason for only the slight bump and an expected hovering near the mid-40’s or even a decrease with a win against Auburn on Saturday. According to the NCAA:

A team’s RPI ranking consists of three factors that are weighted as follows:

  • Factor 1: Division I winning percentage — 25 percent of the RPI
  • Factor 2: Opponent strength of schedule — 50 percent of the RPI
  • Factor 3: Opponents’ opponent strength of schedule — 25 percent of the RPI

Only contests against Division I teams are factored into the RPI, although both DI provisional and reclassifying teams also may be included with some limitations.

South Carolina, has a SOS of 209 (50% of ranking) and D1 winning percentage of 54% (12-10). Two items that don’t bode well, no matter what their opponents’ opponent SOS is.

Auburn does have a SOS of 123, but the D1 winning percentage is only 41% (9-13).

With bad records and bad opponents, the down SEC just continues to snowball.

While these numbers seem to make a rough outlook, and it still could be if Kentucky manages to lose to one of these final schools outside of the Top 100 (5 chances in 10 games), their schedule is back-end heavy with Florida continuing to move up the rankings with a current RPI of 3.

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