The Kentucky Wildcats tank their momentum and are now in jeopardy of missing a double bye in the SEC Tournament, thanks to a stunningly bad performance and the absence of Cason Wallace, the Wildcats fall to the Vanderbilt Commodores, 68-66.
It was a pretty terrible loss for Kentucky despite losing Wallace at the beginning of the second half. Vanderbilt sat with 13 losses and was a Quad 3 opportunity for Kentucky, who now has both a Quad 3 and Quad 4 home loss this season.
Oscar Tshiebwe tried his best to will Kentucky back into it, but a lack of a true point guard killed Kentucky late in the game, with Antonio Reeves making a handful of bad decisions in crunch time.
Now, the Wildcats need to focus on getting Cason Wallace back healthy, or Sahvir Wheeler, or as we saw, there will be no run in the SEC or NCAA tournament.
Here’s how Twitter reacted.
Chance to clinch the No. 3 seed in the SEC Tournament as 10-point favorites— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) March 2, 2023
Lose your star freshman to an ankle injury and fall by two to a Vanderbilt team also down its best player.
And now Kentucky adds a home Quad 3 loss to its resume. Losses to Vanderbilt (Quad 3) and South Carolina (Quad 4) at Rupp Arena this season.— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) March 2, 2023
That loss hurts. Takes away the chance to get a 4/5 seed in the NCAA and leaves you at mercy of the Selection Committee— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) March 2, 2023
FINAL: Vanderbilt 68, Kentucky 66— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) March 2, 2023
Antonio Reeves 3 to win it doesn't even hit the rim. Tough, tough spot for Reeves tonight as the emergency point guard -- but it wasn't pretty.
Reeves 4-17 FG, 1-8 3s, 0 assists, 3 turnovers.
All that matters now is Cason Wallace's health.
This one would have been tough. Cold shooting and down both point guards, not even Oscar's sheer force of will is enough against a hot & confident foe. Alas, it's gonna hurt the resume and may mean the Dance starts with a 1 or 2 seed in the Round of 32.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) March 2, 2023
like it’s almost comical how average basketball players turn into first round picks as soon as that Rupp Arena score board turns on.— KG (@__NotKG) March 2, 2023
Wow. Vanderbilt on Senior Night.— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) March 2, 2023
.@KentuckyMBB in Senior Day games between 1965 and 2019: 52-3. UK in Senior Day games since 2020: 1-3.— Corey Price (@coreyp08) March 2, 2023
Pretty remarkable performance from Oscar Tshiebwe who tried to carry Kentucky to victory... 21 pts... 20 rebs. Biggest thing for the Cats right now.... the health of Cason Wallace.— Kent Spencer (@WHAS11Kent) March 2, 2023
Kentucky’s 5 seniors at Rupp Arena tonight - Antonio Reeves, CJ Fredrick, Brennan Canada, Jacob Toppin and Oscar Tshiebwe - have all taken their seats to speak during UK’s postgame radio show.— Cameron Drummond (@cdrummond97) March 2, 2023
The group emerged from the locker room to cheers despite the loss to Vanderbilt. pic.twitter.com/t4WXV9mT7b
When Kentucky gets their NCAA Tournament seed, it will be 2-3 lines lower because they lost to the 6th, 9th and 13th place teams in the SEC at home— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) March 2, 2023
Kentucky took 59 shots and 10 were at the rim. 19 threes, 30 midrange shots.— Sean Vinsel (@HoopsInsight) March 2, 2023
Kentucky only shot 10 shots at the rim in a game where:— Tristan Pharis (@TristanUda) March 2, 2023
- Vandy's best big got hurt five minutes into the game.
- Vandy's second-best big picked up his 4th foul with 14 min left in the second half.
That is unacceptable. Not the recipe Kentucky has used to fuel their turnaround. https://t.co/EPGgBQb7V8
Oscar Tshiebwe becomes the first SEC player with multiple 20+ point & 20+ rebound games in a single-season over the past 25 years— Greg Harvey (@BetweenTheNums) March 2, 2023
He now has 3 in his @KentuckyMBB career while every other Wildcat over the past 25 seasons has combined to do it 0 times ‼️
Data via OptaSTATS pic.twitter.com/F8BYt0OyYB
Lose by 2 after a guy who has NEVER hit a 3 before hits one and then a guy skuds in a 3 from the logo.— KentuckyMBB Burner (@BurnerKentucky) March 2, 2023
Kentucky had won 14 straight over Vanderbilt and 14 straight over Vanderbilt in Rupp Arena.— John Clay (@johnclayiv) March 2, 2023
Vandy lost center Liam Robbins with 15:51 in the first half.
UK lost point guard Cason Wallace with 18:14 left in the second half.#BBN #ukbasketball #Vandy
Final | Vanderbilt 68, Kentucky 66— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) March 2, 2023
Oscar Tshiebwe: 21 pts, 20 reb, 2 ast, 3 blk
Antonio Reeves: 14 pts
Chris Livingston: 8 pts, 7 reb, 2 stls
Jacob Toppin: 7 pts, 10 reb, 2 ast
Cason Wallace: 6 pts, 2 reb
CJ Fredrick: 6 pts
Daimion Collins: 2 pts, 2 reb
Adou Thiero: 2 pts
I didn't even mention that South Carolina is maybe the worst loss ever in Rupp against an SEC team. But UK did sweep Tennessee, crushed Auburn, didn't give Louisville a chance, etc. It's not all been horrible, but still disappointing given expectations for this season.— Derek Terry (@DerekSTerry) March 2, 2023
"Beating the king at his house is pretty special."— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) March 2, 2023
Jerry Stackhouse says he has a lot of respect for John Calipari, who everyone had "buried" earlier this season but had his team playing as well as anyone in the country heading into tonight.