clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kentucky Wildcats Beat Texas A&M for SEC Title: 3 Quick Observations

New, 6 comments

Out quick-hitters from another thriller with A&M that saw Kentucky come out on top this time to claim their rightful SEC crown.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Just like the matchup in College Station, Kentucky and Texas A&M battled into overtime as both teams just enough to have a shot at winning another close, hard-fought game.

But this time, it was the Cats who pulled off a thrilling win thanks to late three-pointers by Tyler Ulis, Derek Willis and Jamal Murray as UK escaped with an 82-77 win.

Here's our three quick observations from the win.

Cats Need Favorable Region to Make Run

As if we needed a reminder how bad UK struggles against teams with good frontcourts, Texas A&M reminded us in a big way. Even with guys like Skal and Alex playing better as the season has wore on, they just consistently handle guys like Tyler Davis and teams with size all around.

That was evident in this game as the Aggies were dominating the boards and getting multiple-shot possessions thanks to offensive boards. This is why what region and possible matchups UK draws in the Big Dance are so critical. A&M probably isn't as good as any of those teams, so failing to get those critical rebounds like UK did many times in this one will be even more fatal going forward.

Teams like Purdue, Maryland, North Carolina, Michigan State and Arizona will really expose UK here and prevent the Cats from making the Final Four. A&M probably isn't as good as any of those teams, so failing to get those critical rebounds like UK did many times in this one will be even more fatal going forward.

Briscoe Continues to Emerge

As if Kentucky didn't already have one of the nation's best backcourts, Isaiah Briscoe is now finding his groove. The freshman guard had a big SEC Tournament and showed he can be a real difference-maker on the offensive end in addition to already being a bulldog of a defender.

It's not just his scoring that's improved, but his passing and dishing in the lane to get guys wide-open dunks that's really gotten better.

Briscoe finished this game with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting with five boards and six assists.

But Ulis is the Man

I'm not sure if anyone keeps track of 'clutch' shots in college hoops, but Tyler Ulis would certainly be up there. While he's not made big shots at the end of close games, he has routinely made big in-game shots to stop runs and swing momentum when it appeared the other team was grabbing it.

That happened throughout this game as Ulis never allowed the Aggies to pull away when it appeared they might do so. Whether it was a long three-ball or a beautiful assist, Ulis kept making gutsy play after gutsy play and kept the Cats afloat.

I've said it before but I'll say it again with possibly only a handful of games left: Enjoy every last second of watching Tyler Ulis play in a Wildcat uniform.

You can argue his level of greatness and where he ranks among the all-time UK points guards, but there's no denying he's a one-of-a-kind player that we've never seen, nor will likely see again. You just don't see 5-9 guard dominate games the way he does, and it's truly been a special experience just to watch him on the court.

It's great to see Ulis will end his UK career with at least an SEC crown he was largely responsible for. Hopefully though there's plenty of more hardware coming throughout this month and into April.

***

Now that the SEC Tournament is over, the Cats will await their NCAA seeding when the CBS Selection Show takes place at 5:30 p.m. ET. Head on over to our SEC Champs Celebration & Selection Show Thread to talk about this game, where the Cats end up and whatever else you feel like.