How to watch Georgia Bulldogs (18-14, 9-11 in SEC) vs Kentucky Wildcats (21-10, 10-8 in SEC)
Game time: The game is slated to begin around 3:25 pm EST, but it’s actually 25 minutes after Auburn faces Alabama at 1 pm EST, so plan accordingly.
TV: ESPN will have the broadcast.
Radio: Tom Leach and Mike Pratt will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM and 98.1 FM in Lexington or online at UKAthletics.com.
Tickets: Tickets for the SEC Tournament are on sale at Ticketmaster.com.
Odds: UK opened as a 3-point favorite. KenPom projected UK to be a 4.5-point favorite and gives the Cats a 65-percent chance of winning. However, that projection is likely assuming Jarred Vanderbilt plays. So if he’s out, UK will probably be a 1-point favorite or this game could be a toss up.
Prediction: I’m going to assume Vanderbilt is held out of this game and give UK a 71-70 edge. If Vanderbilt ends up playing, I give UK the edge, 73-67.
The Cats automatically advanced to this round after earning the No. 4 seed following a 10-8 record in conference play. The Cats saw their three-year SEC regular-season title run come to an end this year, but they have still positioned themselves for a possible sixth SEC Tournament championship in John Calipari’s ninth season in Lexington.
UK leads the league with 30 SEC Tournament titles, including five under Calipari. UK has captured the last three titles, and they lost in the 2014 title game. The Wildcats are 130-25 all-time in the SEC Tournament, including a 43-11 mark in the quarterfinals.
The Wildcats will need ‘just’ two wins to advance to their eighth SEC title game in nine seasons under Calipari, but getting said wins won’t be easy.
First up will be a 12-seeded Georgia team that you have to go all the way back to December to recall when UK narrowly beat the Dawgs in Rupp Arena. It was a game in which Kevin Knox scored just seven points on 2-of-10 shooting, and UK shot a putrid 31 percent as a team.
But Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would save the day with 21 points, 12 of which coming from the free-throw stripe. Quade Green added 15, and UK was able to hold on for a 66-61 win.
Senior forward Yante Maten led the way for Georgia with 17 points and 12 boards in what was the SEC opener for both teams. Maten would go on to win AP SEC Player of the Year after averaging 19.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the season.
Georgia made it this far after hammering Vanderbilt, 78-62, in Wednesday’s action, and then used a suffocating defensive effort to beat Missouri on Thursday, 62-60. Maten finished with a game-high 21 points to lead Georgia to the hard-fought win.
This year will mark the SEC’s first tournament in St. Louis after three seasons at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Games will be played at the Scottrade Center.
The last time UK played in the Scottrade Center was during the memorable 2014 NCAA Tournament run. This was the building where UK defeated previously undefeated and top-seeded Wichita State in a thriller to advance to the Sweet 16.