The Kentucky Wildcats battled with the Tennessee Volunteers for the third time this season this afternoon, and the Cats came up just short as they lose 69-62 in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.
After a short turnaround from the win over Vanderbilt on Friday night, and the Kentucky offense could not get going in the first half against the Volunteers. With Oscar Tshiebwe headed to the bench with just under 12-minutes left in the half, and the rest of the Cats going 0/8 from three, it’s not hard to see where the 11-point halftime deficit came from.
If it hadn't been for a solid half defensively for the Cats, it quite honestly could have been a blowout.
The second half was much of the same, as it was a complete stinker for the Cats on offense. We do need to mention the fight in the last two minutes though. If that effort is there the entirety of the second half, the outcome very well could have been different.
Despite the outcome today, a couple of players proved to be bright spots, going into the start of the tournament next week.
TyTy Washington seems to be back to full strength after an ankle injury bothered him down the stretch of the regular season. He finished with 17 points, six rebounds, and four assists. If Kentucky hopes to make a run to the National Championship game in a few weeks, they will need a confident TyTy to get there. This weekend was a great foundation to build on for that.
Keion Brooks also had a solid afternoon. After being up-and-down throughout the regular season, Brooks finished the afternoon with 19 points on 7/11 shooting and five rebounds. Kentucky needs this Keion Brooks to show up in the Big Dance to have any hope of a deep run.
With the loss, Kentucky seems to be locked into a 2-seed line going into selection Sunday tomorrow afternoon.
Let the Madness begin.
Today’s games are the ones that make this hard to choose when it was such a sloppy game across the board. Oscar ended up with another solid game after only playing eight minutes in the first-half. But this game isn't even close without Keion Brooks.
The Cats struggled to score all afternoon, and without a solid shooting performance overall by Brooks and this game could have blown open.
We also need to give a shoutout to Sahvir Wheeler. His offense is not spectacular, but his defense has been tremendous. Need that to continue if they hope to make a run in the tournament.