Wildcats take home third straight SEC basketball title

From Issue 6


The SEC Basketball Tournament’s outcome may have seemed predictable to most with the Kentucky Wildcats taking home the hardware, but that does not mean that the tournament didn’t have its moments.

The excitement started on day one of the tournament when the last seed in the tournament, the Missouri Tigers pulled the upset on the 11th seeded Auburn Tigers in overtime. Auburn was one team in the tournament that many thought could make a deep run, as they did just two years earlier when they advanced all the way to the tournament’s semifinals game but struggled against Kim Anderson’s Missouri Tigers.

The tournament’s excitement continued in round two as eight more teams battled it out to continue advancing, starting with the Georgia Bulldogs who knocked off Tennessee to move on to the Quarterfinals. The Bulldogs were also another team that was thought to have a shot at knocking off the Wildcats but Georgia struggled with injuries late in the season which limited their explosiveness and depth.

The tournament then took off even more in day three as the top four seeds finally began their first action of the tournament. The day began with the number one-seeded Kentucky Wildcats taking on the Georgia Bulldogs which was one game that was closer than the 71-60 score indicates. From there the day then took a swing as five-seeded Alabama knocked off four-seeded South Carolina, and the seventh-seeded Vanderbilt Commodores knocked off the two-seeded Florida Gators to finish a 3-0 season sweep of the Gators. The Commodores may be one of the most impressive seven seeds the conference has seen in awhile though as they made the NCAA’s field of 68 just two days later on Selection Sunday. The night cap of day three did end up being quite arguably the most thrilling games of the tournament as the six-seeded Ole Miss Rebels took on the three-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks. The Razorbacks ended up getting the win in the end 73-72, but the game was as intriguing as the score implies as the two teams battled all the way to the final buzzer.

The Semi Finals round started off with nailbiter between the tournament champion Wildcats and the not so under the radar Crimson Tide. The Wildcats eventually came out with the 79-74 win but the Crimson Tide made the powerhouse Kentucky Wildcats fight to the bitter end. The other Semi Final game was not as barnburner as the first, as Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks took care of the Vanderbilt Commodores in a 76-62 win.

The Championship game was one game that the Kentucky Wildcats made sure to show up for. The Wildcats took the lead early and never took their foot off the gas from that point. They limited Arkansas’s team three point shooting to 22% which ended up being one thing that the Razorbacks just could not overcome in the end. Kentucky then put an exclamation point on the 82-65 win by putting up 40 points in the second half.

By winning this year’s conference tournament the Wildcats put up their third straight conference title and their 30th all time. The Conference MVP trophy was awarded to the Wildcats freshman guard De’Aaron Fox who posted 18 points in the championship game.