Kentucky Basketball: Logjammed SEC has Cats looking at No. 3 or No. 4 seed

Kentucky Wildcats guard Sahvir Wheeler (Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky Wildcats guard Sahvir Wheeler (Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports) /

Kentucky basketball was one of the elite programs to fall on Saturday and instead of looking at a No. 2 seed heading into the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the Wildcats are hoping now to hold onto the third seed. 

The upper echelon of the league had its four best teams Kentucky playing Arkansas, and Tennessee battling Auburn back to back on Saturday, and when the dust settled it was only got murkier.

Just last week Kentucky (23-6, 12-4) sat in the No. 2 spot with little hope of overtaking Auburn. Well, the Tigers up and lost 67-62 in Knoxville while the Wildcats got hogtied in Fayetteville 75-73. If things shake out in UK’s favor they could reclaim that No. 2 seed.

Kentucky basketball needs to win out and hope for at least a No. 3 seed

Wedged in between these four and the cellar dwellers of the conference are Alabama, LSU, and Florida who each notched wins while Mississippi State and South Carolina slipped.

Here are the latest standings heading into the final week of the regular season.

Auburn                 12-3     25-4

Arkansas              12-4     23-6

Kentucky              12-4     23-6

Tennessee           12-4     21-7

Alabama                 9-7    19-10

LSU                          8-8     20-9

Florida                    8-8     18-11

S. Carolina             8-8     17-11

Mississippi St.      8-8     17-12

Texas A&M            7-9     18-11

Vanderbilt             6-10    14-14

Ole Miss                4-12    13-16

Missouri                4-12    10-19

Georgia                  1-15       6-23

As you can see there are a lot of tiebreaker scenarios that can play into seeding for the SEC Tournament which gets underway March 9th at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

After the Arkansas game, Kentucky coach John Calipari was asked about Ole Miss, the Wildcat’s next opponent, but the coach said he is more focused on two weeks from now. when the NCAA tournament gets underway.

"“We’re playing for something bigger than just a seed and the league championship."

Auburn drew the easiest SEC schedule for the season and finishes out at Mississippi State and hosts South Carolina.

Arkansas who is the hottest team in the league hosts LSU on Wednesday and is at Tennessee on Saturday.

Tennessee is at Georgia on Tuesday before the big showdown with the Hogs.

That leaves Kentucky who hosts Ole Miss on Tuesday and then travels to Florida for a 2 pm game on Saturday. The Wildcats have already beaten the Gators in Rupp Arena 78-57 and is the game where TyTy Washington was injured. However, playing in the O’Connell Center is never easy. Florida visits Vanderbilt on Tuesday.

Should Kentucky and Tennessee finish tied the Volunteers and the two schools split their two games, Tennessee would get the higher seed by virtue of their win over Auburn whereas UK lost to the Tigers.

Alabama entertains Texas A&M on Wednesday before heading to Baton Rouge to take on LSU on Saturday.

So the cloudy, tangled mess will have to wait to sort out on Saturday.

For now, Kentucky has to regroup and refocus on the week ahead. They have an easy matchup with Ole Miss on Tuesday and KenPom gives UK a 94-percent chance to win. Against the Gators, he is predicting a 71-percent chance Big Blue will come away victorious.

The percentage odds are nearly identical for Tennessee to win each game while predicting Arkansas will split.

The Wildcats will host the Rebels on Senior Night and normally have very little trouble with Ole Miss leading the series 108-14. Of course last season the Rebels broke an 11 game losing streak beating UK 70-62.

When the Cats and Gators square off it has been Kentucky winning 106 and dropping just 41. Kentucky has come away as the winner in 7 of the last 8 meetings.