Big Blue Notes: Wildcats cut nets on third regular season and tournament championship Sunday

Eric Howard is a Calvert City native who lives in Lexington and is a committed UK Wildcat fan. His column 'Big Blue Notes' appears regularly in The Lake News.

Eric Howard is a Calvert City native who lives in Lexington and is a committed UK Wildcat fan. His column ‘Big Blue Notes’ appears regularly in The Lake News.

Cats complete SEC Sweep
After clinching the schools 48th SEC regular season championship last week, John Calipari’s squad cut down the nets in Nashville this past weekend in Southeastern Conference Tournament. The win marked the third consecutive regular season and tournament championship for the Wildcats.

Kentucky opened play on Friday afternoon against Georgia in Bridgestone Arena. To the relief of Big Blue fans, the third meeting of the season between the two schools was not as close as the first two with Kentucky winning 71-60. In the semifinals, Alabama would come as close to the Cats as anyone in with Kentucky eventually holding on to a five point victory.

The tournament final on Sunday was a rematch of the 2015 finale in Nashville with the Wildcats taking on the Arkansas Razorbacks. Much like in 2015, Kentucky’s talent was too much for Arkansas to overcome with the Wildcats wrapping up the victory by a score of 82-65. The win marked the 50th Southeastern Conference Tournament title for the school and the fifth for John Calipari in his eight years at the helm.

The tournament title for Calipari also moves him into second place all-time for SEC tournament championships behind Adolph Rupp. Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox took home tournament MVP honors after averaging 22 point, three assists, and two steals in the

Wildcats three games.
The Wildcats’ two Kentucky natives also continued their stellar play in Nashville. Derek Willis had a solid tournament averaging six points and seven rebounds while fellow senior Dominique Hawkins played some of the best basketball of his career. The Richmond native averaged nine points and two steals per game over the weekend and took home All-SEC Tournament team honors.

Kentucky earns a two-seed in NCAA tournament
John Calipari’s squad just missed a coveted one-seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. The Wildcats were ranked as the fifth overall best team by the NCAA Selection Committee and earned the first No. 2 seed placing them in the Memphis bracket. North Carolina earned the top seed in the Wildcats’ bracket while Gonzaga, Villanova, and Kansas were awarded with the other No. 1 seeds.

The Wildcats will open play Friday evening against Nothern Kentucky University in Indianapolis. After recently moving up to Division I, the Norse will be making their NCAA tournament debut after winning the Horizon league tournament in their first year of eligibility.

Assuming the Wildcats get past the Norse, Kentucky will play the winner of Wichita State and Dayton in the second round on Sunday.

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