Kentucky basketball: Horrendous start lands Wildcats at No. 144 in first NET rankings

Kentucky basketball needs impressive wins here on out with first NET ratings released.

The NCAA released the first NET rankings for the 2020-21 men’s basketball season on Monday and Kentucky basketball fans need to scroll way down to find the Wildcats which should signal a big warning sign.

The NET, which stands for the NCAA Evaluation Tool, replaced the RPI after the 2017-18 season and it is used as the primary sorting tool for selection and seeding for the NCAA tournament.

You true diehard fans will know just where UK is ranked in this, the AP, Coaches Poll, bracket selection, and any other March Madness tool there is. That would be nowhere at this time.

Matchup
Vanderbilt Commodores
4-3
Kentucky Wildcats
2-6
Tuesday, January 5
7 PM ET

But just in case you don’t know exactly what the NET Rankings are in college basketball, never fear, the average joe doesn’t. Still, you should when it comes to March Madness.

The NCAA released the initial NET rankings for the 2020-21 men’s basketball season on Monday, Jan. 4. The NET, which stands for the NCAA Evaluation Tool, replaced the RPI after the 2017-18 season and it is used as the primary sorting tool for selection and seeding for the NCAA tournament.

While Covid has hit everyone hard had the  Kentucky basketball team taken care of business in games they could have won it would be sitting in great shape.

The NCAA announced Monday that the entire March Madness will take place in Indiana in Bloomington, West Lafayette, and gyms surrounding Indianapolis with the final four at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Oh, and the chairman of the selection committee this year is none other than Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart. If Kentucky fails to make the tournament that would be quite an embarrassment.

Barnhart explained how the move to Indianapolis was difficult and disappointing to UK.

“With the University of Kentucky slated to host first- and second-round games in March, this is something that directly impacts our school and community, so we certainly share in their regret. The committee and staff deeply appreciate the efforts of all the host institutions and conferences, and we look forward to bringing the tournament back to the impacted sites in future years.”

The NET rankings will be updated daily through Selection Sunday and the latest rankings can be found here.

If you want to know more details about the rankings and the analytics involved, check out this helpful article.

Here is who makes up the top-10 in the debut NET Rankings:

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Baylor
  3. Tennessee
  4. Illinois
  5. Villanova
  6. Michigan
  7. Iowa
  8. Houston
  9. Texas
  10. Missouri

 

While Kentucky got a much-needed double-overtime win at Mississippi State on Saturday that didn’t do much for them in the rankings and in fact they rank second to last in the Southeastern Conference teams. Just behind the Bulldogs and ahead of tonight’s opponent Vanderbilt.

3. Tennessee

10 Missouri

22. Florida

23. LSU

24. Arkansas

36. Alabama

62. Ole Miss

76. Auburn

86. Georgia

97. Texas A&M

103. South Carolina

113. Mississippi State

144. Kentucky

177. Vandy

Kentucky can ill afford to lose many if any games as they go through the weak SEC schedule and must take advantage of their opportunities.  They only get one shot against LSU and Arkansas both at Rupp Arena.

That starts tonight at home against Vanderbilt in a 7 pm tipoff. They have to continue to build off the win on Saturday and it’s a must-win.

John Calipari seemed to imply on his radio show Monday night that there was no chance Terrence Clarke plays tonight or even Saturday. Also said that he is still just waiting on “medical clearance” for Keion Brooks Jr. He also made mention that Cam’Ron Fletcher could play if there is foul trouble. As usual, we have no idea what that really means from Cal.

That means more Dontaie Allen who ignited Kentucky in the win at Mississippi State hitting 7 three-pointers.

With losses to struggling North Carolina (64), Richmond (68), Georgia Tech (95), and Notre Dame (169) the Wildcats don’t have an impressive resume to work from with wins over the No. 113 (Mississippi St.) and 262 (Morehead St.) teams.  That means their remaining outings need to be eye-popping and eye-catching.

The one that would truly up their stock will be the SEC/Big12 Challenge on January 30 against Texas.

Oh, and in case you are wondering where the rest of the Bluegrass and fringe state teams stack up – Louisville (33), Xavier (46), Indiana (51), Western Kentucky 87, Cincinnati (142), Eastern Kentucky (157), Murray State (236), Bellarmine (241) and Morehead State (262).