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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball earns No. 4 seed in 2018 SEC Tournament

The Cats get the critical double-bye and won’t play until Friday.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats took a beating Saturday, and it cost them a chance at a higher seed in the SEC Tournament.

The Florida Gators cruised to an easy win in Gainesville, which gave them the No. 3 in next week’s tournament in St. Louis. Had the Cats won, that would have been their spot, but alas, Florida proved to be the superior team in a season-sweep of the Cats.

Thankfully, the Cats still scored a double-bye in the SEC Tournament. Thanks to the Arkansas Razorbacks losing to the Missouri Tigers, UK is the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament and won’t play until Friday at 3 p.m. EST.

Getting that extra day of rest was something UK badly needed to get. Most teams that make it to the SEC Championship Game do so after getting a double-bye. The last four champions have done so after scoring a double-bye, and all 14 title game participants over the last seven years have been a top-four seed.

While this isn’t the most ideal of seeds, it still feels like a big win for a team that was in real danger of finishing with one of the 3-4 worst league records when they were losing four straight.

But thanks to four straight wins, the Cats avoided finishing in the bottom half of the league for the first time in the John Calipari era. That might night seem like much, but as good as this league has been, getting a top 4-5 seed this year was no easy feat.

All told, next week in St. Louis is a great opportunity for UK to get some momentum going into the NCAA Tournament, not to mention lock up a top-five seed. Most of the bracketologies right now have UK being a 5 seed in the Big Dance. UK needs at least one win in St. Louis to lock that seed line up.

Winning 2-3 SEC Tourney games could get UK into the 4-seed line. Winning the tournament could put UK in contention for a 3 seed, but only if several other teams ahead of UK lose early in their conference tournaments.