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Believe it or not, Kentucky’s tournament hopes aren’t dead yet

Mar 7, 2013, 9:16 PM EDT

Jarrod Polson Julius Mays Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Here’s the good news for Kentucky: even though they have now lost two games in a row that they probably couldn’t afford to lose, the Wildcats still aren’t eliminated from NCAA tournament contention.

In fact, after losing at Arkansas on Saturday and then losing at Georgia 72-62 on Thursday night, Kentucky still may be in the exact same spot that they were last week: beat Florida, don’t suffer a bad loss in the SEC tournament, and lace up those dancing shoes.

That’s how week the bubble’s cutline looks right now.

Because everyone that’s there with Kentucky keeps losing, too.

Virginia lost at Florida State tonight while UMass lost at home to Butler. Maryland lost to North Carolina Wednesday night. Tennessee lost to Georgia on Saturday. Ole Miss lost to Mississippi State after losing to South Carolina. Arizona State collapsed. Iowa never made their run. Akron lost, and then lost their starting point guard.

And so here we are, with the Wildcats, who just suffered their first sub-100 loss of the season on Thursday (something that cannot be said about most of the teams on the bubble), needing to beat the SEC’s best team on Saturday to keep their hopes alive.

This is where it gets tricky: the last place you want to be heading into Championship Week is anywhere near the cutline. Not when teams like Northern Iowa are streaking as they head into Arch Madness against the likes of Creighton and Wichita State. Not when USC is peaking as they head into Pac-12 tournament play. Not when Southern Miss and BYU have the talent to make a run through Conference USA and the WCC, respectively.

Bid thieves abound during Championship Week, and the last place Kentucky wants to be is where they’re at risk of seeing their at-large bid get swiped.

Unfortunately, after tonight, they may have to resign themselves to that fate.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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