A year removed from a national championship, Kentucky fans were understandably disappointed their team didn't make the field of 68 after a year when their squad started out ranked No. 3 in the nation.
It was a distinct possibility that the Wildcats would be left on the outside looking in after a disappointing loss to a 10th-seeded Vanderbilt team in the SEC Tournament. Kentucky blog A Sea of Blue saw it coming -- they called the snub a "fait accompli" -- and it still didn't sit well with them.
No disrespect intended to (teams that qualified), but blueblood programs like Kentucky keenly feel bad seasons, and any season that misses the NCAA tournament is a very bad one indeed. Neither Kentucky basketball, nor the Big Blue Nation, do humble very well.
In case you wanted confirmation they didn't do humble very well:
Missing the tournament this year is very likely nothing more than a required karmic recharge before we win our ninth national championship next year, and I am comfortable in my conviction that will in fact happen a mere 12 months and change from now.
That's not the craziest idea in the world. John Calipari's ability to reload is as strong as ever. Even if Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin, and Nerlens Noel are all one-and-dones, he brings in a stud recruiting class featuring the Harrison twins, Aaron and Andrew, top center Dakari Johnson, top small forward James Young, and elite power forward Marcus Lee -- a top ten player at every starting position, per ESPN. But it's still a funny one to see the day after Selection Sunday, especially for fans of schadenfreude.
The Wildcats certainly had a pretty strong case for inclusion: they have a better Kenpom ranking than at-large qualifiers Boise State and La Salle, and even after the season-ending injury to stud freshman Nerlens Noel, were able to beat Florida. But the team went 4-4 after that injury, with regular season losses to non-tourney teams in Tennessee, Georgia, and Arkansas, as well as the SEC Tournament loss to Vandy. That, plus an RPI below any at-large qualifier in the field and only three wins against teams that ended up in the field were enough to keep Kentucky from dancing.
To add insult to injury, they'll have to go on the road to play Robert Morris, an automatic qualifier in the NIT, due to Rupp Arena being a site for the NCAA Tournament.
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