The 2021-22 basketball season is still a glimmer in John Calipari’s eye but that’s not stopping Joe Lunardi from churning out Bracketology updates. ESPN’s bracketologist is back with a new projection of the 2022 NCAA Tournament, and even though it’s still over seven months away, we’re going to share it with you. (It is a Tuesday morning in August, after all.)
Last month, Lunardi bumped Kentucky up to a No. 2 seed following the news that Davion Mintz was returning for a sixth season. This month, the Cats are down to a No. 3 seed, playing in the Midwest Region, which also includes UCLA (No. 1), Baylor (No. 2), Ohio State (No. 4), and Tennessee (No. 5). Despite the slide, Kentucky is still designated as an automatic qualifier, meaning Lunardi believes the Cats will win the SEC Tournament.
Lunardi doesn’t say Kofi Cockburn or Jalen Duren had an impact on Kentucky’s spot, but Illinois is up to a No. 2 seed in this version and Memphis a No. 4 seed. From the SEC, Alabama and Arkansas are No. 4 seeds, Tennessee a No. 5 seed, Auburn a No. 6 seed, LSU a No. 8 seed, Florida a No. 9 seed, and Mississippi State a No. 11 seed.
Only 91 days until the season starts.