|ESPN.com: College Basketball Rumors||[Print without images]|
"We're used to the likes of Saint Mary's, Virginia and Arizona State sitting squarely on the NCAA bubble. But Kentucky? That's a thoroughbred of a different color. Yet the Nerlens Noel injury -- and subsequent blowout loss at Tennessee -- has us questioning everything about the Wildcats. And it's not as if the Cats were all that dominant to begin with. They were a borderline double-digit seed with Noel, so it's more than fair to take a wait-and-see approach to the Wildcats without him. Fortunately for UK, four of its remaining six regular-season games are at Rupp Arena. The Cats need to win three of those (and play competitively in the regular-season finale against Florida) to feel good about their chances heading to the SEC tournament. After that, it will be up to each selection committee member to determine how much to weigh Kentucky's first 24 games versus its final half-dozen or so. My determination -- now and moving forward -- is that the Noel-less Cats have to beat at least one NCAA tournament-level team to get back into the projected field."