The Kentucky Wildcats got some help from Bruce Pearl’s Auburn team on Saturday as the Tigers upset the Tennessee Volunteers 84-80.
After taking care of business at home, Kentucky has now finished the regular season with the second best conference record and will have the #2 seed in next week’s SEC Tournament. Kentucky can also clinch a share of regular-season SEC title if LSU loses tonight to Vanderbilt.
UK is now locked in to play at 7:00 pm EST on the SEC Network Friday evening inside of Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Kentucky will get the winner of the #7 vs #10 game which takes place Thursday evening. There is still basketball left to be played to determine who those opponents might be. By the end of the night, Kentucky will know what two teams they may see on Friday night.
Heading into Saturday’s game against Florida, it seemed rather unlikely that UK would be able to secure that #2 seed and avoid the late night game Friday in Nashville. But Auburn did UK a huge favor by knocking off Tennessee in a close game.
Kentucky looked rather terrible in the first half against the Gators on Saturday, and for a while it looked like the Cats were going to squander their opportunity at over-taking Tennessee for that #2 seed. There is no doubt that Calipari’s team is not playing their best basketball right now, but the SEC Tournament has proven to be a great tool for Coach Cal to get his team playing to their potential.
The game time for Friday’s quarterfinal just might be the most noteworthy factor in the difference between a #2 and #3 seed. It is still likely that Kentucky will play Tennessee in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 pm. It will be nice for fans and players alike to avoid playing in the #3 seed game which likely will not tip-off until well after 9:00 pm EST.
Here is a look at the entire 2019 SEC Tournament Bracket:
If Kentucky does meet Tennessee on Saturday, it would be to their advantage that the Vols play that late game the night before. Rick Barnes’ team has looked vulnerable as of late, but they will surely be eager to avenge last year’s loss to Kentucky in the 2018 SEC Tournament championship.
Round 3 of UK vs UT would be something special. But first, Kentucky is going to take care of business themselves and beat the winner of the #7 vs #10 seed and ensure they don’t slip up by looking ahead.
Every team in America is now in survive and advance mode from here on out.
Be sure to follow A Sea of Blue for all of your SEC Tournament updates. We will have several people in Nashville covering all of the action.