January 17th 2013
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It's early in the conference race but the four road games that Kentucky will play over the next two weeks represents a crucial stretch when it comes to the Cats making it into the NCAA Tournament. It is my belief that 12-6 is the minimum SEC record UK needs to be safely into the field. The farther UK moves away from that record, the less secure BBN should feel--and every win above 12 will enhance the Cats' seeding and chance to advance. Here's my formula for getting to 12: 7 wins at home and 5 on the road. That scenario assume one more home loss (? Florida) so if the Cats can beat the Gators and every other opponent in Rupp, they would only need 4 road wins to get to 12-6 in the league. With that in mind, it underscores the opportunity in front of the Wildcats between now and Super Bowl weekend, if they can capture three or four road wins. Until this team takes a significant step forward, you can't take any game for granted. And pay no attention to Auburn's record because recent results show the Tigers are clearly playing better than their overall mark indicates.
ESPN's Joe Lunardi puts UK in the NCAA field as a 10-seed in his latest Bracketology report but he also writes in an ESPN insider column that the Cats are very much in danger of missing the tournament if they many more "bad" losses. In this excerpt, Lunardi says there are four key games to circle on the UK basketball calendar:
The bottom line is that UK's season is going to come down to four SEC games: at Ole Miss (Jan. 29), at Florida (Feb. 12), home versus Missouri (Feb. 23) and the Florida rematch at Rupp Arena (March 9). A split of those contests should be enough, and most Kentucky teams would have little trouble hitting that mark.
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