The ESPN-USA Today coaches poll is out, and the University of Louisville has jumped to No. 12 after three wins over ranked teams — including former No. 1 Pitt — last week.
Pitt fell to No. 4. Wake Forest is the new No. 1. Duke is No. 2 and Connecticut is No. 3. The ACC has three teams in the top six. The Big East has two. Click here for the full poll.
And the University of Kentucky isn’t close to entering the coaches’ rankings. The Wildcats garnered only 12 points in the balloting, good for 34th best in the nation. Once again this week, no SEC team is ranked, with Florida being the closest.
Yes, the VMI loss is costing UK. But I don’t think that’s the main thing. The Wildcats have a lack of quality wins — though I’d suggest that their schedule has been decent. They’ve played at North Carolina, Louisville and Tennessee. They played West Virginia and Kansas State on the road. Yes, the rest of their schedule has been made up of teams far weaker than UK should be playing. But they have beaten a couple of credible teams.
Nonetheless, the Cats are in even worse shape in the computer ratings than they are the human polls. UK is No. 57 in the RPI and (strength of schedule, No. 119). Sagarin ranks the Cats No. 31, with a strength of schedule of No. 196. Ken Pomeroy rates UK No. 19 nationally, with a strength of schedule rated No. 173.
(U of L is No. 12 in the RPI with the nation’s fifth-rated schedule; No. 16 in the Sagarin with a schedule rated No. 35. Pomeroy ranks the Cards No. 13 and their schedule No. 35).
Given how weak the SEC looks, the poll and computer ranking climb is going to be a slow one for the Cats, even if they keep winning. A No. 3 or 4 seed is possible, but it’s going to take an impressive run.