Kentucky opened the 2019-20 season with an 8-3 record featuring a loss to an Evansville team that's now 0-18 in the Missouri Valley Conference plus a loss to Utah, which is currently 6-11 in the Pac-12. So, naturally, skeptics emerged. But a lot has changed since then. Namely, Immanuel Quickley has developed into a possible SEC Player of the Year. Nick Richards has also emerged as a reliable big. And -- surprise, surprise -- the Wildcats suddenly look like Final Four contenders once again.
"I think a lot of people doubted us early," Quickley said Saturday after leading UK to a 73-66 victory over Auburn inside Rupp Arena. "We lost a couple of tough games in Vegas [to Utah and Ohio State], and people questioned if we could get to this point and eventually get to a Final Four or [win] a championship or something like that. [But] we stayed faithful to the grind and trusted the process."
As a result, Kentucky is now 24-5 overall, 14-2 in the SEC and league champs for the fourth time in the past six seasons. The Wildcats actually secured their 49th outright SEC title in program history with two regular-season games remaining.
Are the computer numbers strong? For the most part, no.
Kentucky is only 14th in the NET and 26th at KenPom. The Wildcats' offensive-efficiency rating and defensive-efficiency rating both rank outside of the top 30 nationally. And perhaps that'll be a fatal flaw. As always, we'll see. But for now at least, I'm willing to believe in a team that's 12-1 in its past 13 games and 5-1 in its past six Quadrant 1 opportunities. So Kentucky is up to No. 7 in Sunday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Wildcats' next game is Tuesday against Tennessee.
Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Devon Dotson finished with 25 points and two steals in Saturday's 62-58 victory at Kansas State. The Jayhawks will take a 14-game winning streak into Wednesday's game with TCU.||--||21-9|
|Filip Petrusev finished with 27 points and six rebounds in Saturday's 86-76 victory over Saint Mary's. The Zags are 9-2 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with zero losses outside of the first quadrant.||1||31-1|
|The Bears allowed TCU to shoot 48.9% from the field in Saturday's 75-72 loss on the road. Baylor is 1-2 in its past three games after previously winning 23 straight.||1||28-2|
|Obi Toppin finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds in Friday's 82-67 victory over Davidson. Both of the Flyers' losses have come in overtime to schools ranked in the top 30 at KenPom -- namely Kansas and Colorado.||--||14-10|
San Diego St
|Malachi Flynn finished with 36 points, five rebounds and five assists in Saturday's 83-76 victory at Nevada. The Aztecs are the first Mountain West Conference team to win at Nevada in more than two years.||--||23-5|
|Marcus Zegarowski made seven 3-pointers and finished with 25 points in Sunday's 81-59 victory over Butler. The Bluejays are 9-1 in their past 10 games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Providence.||--||22-9|
|Immanuel Quickley finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds in Saturday's 73-66 victory over Auburn. The Wildcats are 12-1 in their past 13 games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Auburn.||2||9-16|
|Myles Powell made five 3-pointers and finished with 28 points in Saturday's 88-79 victory at Marquette. Seton Hall is 5-2 in its past seven games with additional wins in that stretch over Villanova and Butler.||2||14-13|
|The Seminoles finished with 16 turnovers and just 11 assists in Saturday's 70-69 loss at Clemson. Florida State is 12-5 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with just two losses outside of the first quadrant.||2||18-7|
|The Terrapins missed 14 of the 20 3-pointers they attempted in Saturday's 78-66 loss to Michigan State. Maryland has a one-game lead in the Big Ten standings with two regular-season games remaining.||2||17-14|
|Jordan Nwora missed 10 of the 14 shots he attempted in Monday's 82-67 loss at Florida State. Louisville is tied with Florida State atop the ACC standings.||2||13-7|
|The Tigers missed 25 of the 34 3-pointers they attempted in Saturday's 73-66 loss at Kentucky. Auburn is 13-5 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with zero losses outside of the first two quadrants.||--||13-14|
|The Wildcats missed 25 of the 30 3-pointers they attempted in Saturday's 58-54 loss to Providence. Villanova lost three games at home in the month of February.||2||18-7|
|Payton Pritchard made five 3-pointers and finished with 23 points in Thursday's 69-54 victory over Oregon State. The Ducks' resume features seven Quadrant 1 victories and just two losses outside of the first quadrant.||2||21-7|
|Cassius Winston finished with 20 points and six assists in Saturday's 78-66 victory at Maryland. Michigan State is the first team to beat the Terrapins inside Xfinity Center this season.||4||15-13|
|The Blue Devils missed 13 of the 17 3-pointers they attempted in Saturday's 52-50 loss at Virginia. Duke is 1-3 in its past four games with all three losses coming to unranked teams.||2||13-11|
|Yoeli Childs finished with 38 points and 14 rebounds in Saturday's 81-64 victory at Pepperdine. The Cougars are 16-2 with Childs in the lineup.||--||20-7|
|Jordan Tucker got 13 points and four rebounds off the bench in Saturday's 60-42 victory over DePaul. The Bulldogs are 13-9 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with zero losses outside of the first two quadrants.||--||10-15|
|Luka Garza finished with 25 points and 17 rebounds in Saturday's 77-68 victory over Penn State. The Hawkeyes are 13-7 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with two additional Quadrant 3 losses.||2||22-9|
|The Nittany Lions missed 21 of the 31 3-pointers they attempted in Saturday's 77-68 loss at Iowa. Penn State is 1-3 in its past four games with multiple losses to unranked teams in that stretch.||5||11-14|
|The Wolverines allowed Wisconsin to shoot 51.7% from the field in Thursday's 81-74 loss to the Badgers. Michigan is 13-5 with Isaiah Livers in the lineup, just 5-5 without him.||1||23-5|
|Kaleb Wesson finished with 16 points and 18 rebounds in Thursday's 75-54 victory at Nebraska. The Buckeyes are 4-1. in their past five games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Iowa.||1||21-10|
|The Golden Eagles allowed Seton Hall to shoot 53.3% from the field in Saturday's 88-79 loss to the Pirates. Marquette is 11-10 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with just one loss coming outside of the first quadrant.||3||13-14|
|DeJon Jarreau missed 11 of the 15 shots he attempted in Saturday's 60-59 loss at Memphis. The Cougars are 4-3 in their past seven games with all three losses in that stretch coming to unranked opponents.||1||28-4|
|D'Mitrik Trice made five 3-pointers and finished with 28 points in Thursday's 81-74 victory at Michigan. The Badgers will take a five-game winning streak into Sunday's game with Minnesota.||1||18-13|
|The Buffaloes missed 23 of the 29 3-pointers the attempted in Thursday's 76-62 loss at California. Colorado is 11-7 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with just one loss coming outside of the first two quadrants.||NR||23-9|