By LARRY VAUGHT
11:12 AM EST, February 14, 2013
What impact will freshman center Nerlens Noel’s season-ending knee injury have on Kentucky’s chance to make the NCAA Tournament?
The Wildcats had seemed to play themselves back into solid NCAA contention before they lost Tuesday at Florida and Noel tore a knee ligament in a second-half collision that will end his season.
NCAA Division I Basketball Committee chairman Mike Bobinski was asked Wednesday during a teleconference what value the selection committee would place on what Kentucky has already accomplished with Noel versus what it will accomplish with the team that will actually be on the court in March?
“I don't know that it's possible for me to give a clear breakdown or any objective way to quantify that,” said Bobinski. “And we ought to see, as with any injury that's significant to any player around the country, obviously, it's truly a shame that what's happened to Nerlens Noel, and I'm sorry to see that for him personally and for the Kentucky team.
“The reality is we have about four-and-a-half weeks of basketball left to be able to watch Kentucky play and to see how they perform without him in the lineup now, and that will really tell the story, I think, of how we ultimately judge and view Kentucky. It's way too early to consider them in, out, or in between.
“We don't do that with anybody at this point in time. But we'll clearly be watching them closely to see how they're able to play without a young man that's clearly been an important part of their success to this point.”
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