What a weekend in Nashville for the Wildcats.
Kentucky started the tournament on Friday, with a rout of the Alabama Crimson Tide by a score of 89-55. The next day, the Wildcats got all they wanted from a Georgia Bulldogs squad fighting to keep their season alive. In a game that was closer than expected, the Cats moved on to the finals with a 93-80 victory.
Finally, the championship on Sunday. The Cats got revenge against the Texas A&M Aggies by winning in overtime 82-77. The win gave the Wildcats their 29th SEC Tournament Championship.
Now it's time for a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from Nashville and how it may affect UK entering the NCAA Tournament.
The Good: Tyler Ulis
I could've went with several options here, but it's hard to not pick the SEC Tournament MVP. Ulis was spectacular over the course of three games (as he has all year) and in my opinion, makes it tough to pick against him for National Player of the Year. Here are Ulis' stat lines over the course of the tournament.
Alabama: 17 points, 5 assists, 5/11 shooting (2/2 from three)
Georgia: 25 points, 5 assists, 7/16 shooting (4/7 from three), 7/8 free throws, 2 steals
Texas A&M: 30 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 10/17 shooting (3/5 from three), 7/8 free throws
Ulis saved his best for last, going for his career-high in points on Sunday. Ulis made play after play to keep Kentucky in the game and defeat the Aggies.
Honorable Mentions: Jamal Murray, Isaiah Briscoe, and Alex Poythress
The Bad: Skal's disappearance
I really hoped that the Florida and LSU games to end the regular season were the turning of a corner for Skal Labissiere. While there is still time for Skal to make an impact this season, time is running short. Over the course of the tournament, Skal struggled to stay on the floor due to fouls and had limited production while he was on the floor.
Alabama: 7 points, 5 rebounds (3/6 shooting) 18 minutes
Georgia: 2 points, 0 rebounds (1/1 shooting) 4 minutes
Texas A&M: 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 blocks (1/2 shooting) 8 minutes
This team becomes, in my opinion, one of the best teams in the country when Skal plays well. He adds a unique dimension to this team when he can stay out of foul trouble, rebound, block shots, and knock down mid-range jump shots.
If Skal can play like he did in the last two games of the regular season, the Cats become a much more dangerous threat in the tournament.
The Ugly: Irrelevance of the Championship game
The Sunday championship between UK and Texas A&M was a classic between two teams that have a chance to make the Final Four this year. With the Cats picking up the win, it would seemingly make sense for UK to have the higher seed in the tournament.
However, the NCAA Selection Committee does not agree. The Aggies were given a 3 seed in arguably the weakest region, while the Wildcats got a 4 in the most top-heavy region.
Obviously the championship game did not matter to the selection committee. This is the second time that a similar situation has happened (2011), so why not move the tournament championship to Saturday?
I know it works better for ratings and all of that to have it go through Sunday, but for the sake of having the game actually mean something for the most important part of the season, it would make sense to move it to Saturday.