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If The SEC Tournament Were Today…

 

 

Imagine it’s exactly one month from today- Sunday, March 17, 2013. Selection Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, and, perhaps most importantly to UK fans right now, the SEC Tournament Championship game- a game which may be our golden parachute into the 2013 NCAA Tournament. You’re casually strolling among the honky-tonks, looking to kill some time by drinking a beer before the game. The million-dollar question: are the Cats playing in this game?

 

To try and help us get our Nostradamus hats on, I put the SEC standings as of today into the tournament bracket in a very sophisticated Photoshop job. Let’s see where the Cats are:

 

 

Currently, Kentucky is seeded third in the SEC which sounds amazing, considering how painful the conference season has felt, but honestly it speaks more to the weakness of the conference than to Kentucky’s success (note: Kentucky and Ole Miss are both 8-4 in the SEC; however, because Kentucky won the head-to-head matchup, they would receive the higher seeding). However, with a little bit of luck, the Cats should hang on to three if not take over two from Alabama. Both teams still have to face Florida (the second time for the Cats), and Bama has to travel to Ole Miss on March 5, a game Cats fans may want to tune into.

 

But, I digress. Let’s focus on Kentucky’s half of the bracket and assume that Vandy beats an absolutely terrible Mississippi State team to face Arkansas. Now, Arkansas has been fearsome in the comfy confines of Bud Walton Arena, but they’ve lost every road conference game except Auburn. At a “neutral” site (neutral in quotes because Vandy resides in Nashville, obviously), I don’t see the Razorbacks rising above the Commodores.

 

Which leaves us with a Vandy-Kentucky matchup, part three. The first game, which the Cats won at Vandy, was all kinds of ugly, and I wrote that it felt like a loss (little did I know how much I would covet that win-that-feels-like-a-loss-but-is-still-a-win feeling a mere few weeks later). After an easy first half, the Fightin’ Kevin Stallings came out and played what WCS called “smash mouth basketball,” exposing the Cats’ inability to finish off an inferior team (note that Nerlens Noel was in foul trouble for most of the game, as Cassady pointed out in his earlier post). Now, five weeks later and without Nerlens Noel, the Cats must prepare for a Vandy team that has gone 4-7 since their last meeting. If Kentucky had made a halfway decent showing yesterday, I wouldn’t be worried. But they didn’t, and I am.

 

Let’s cut the Cats a break (I know none of you want to) and grant them a magical win over Vanderbilt. Playing at Bridgestone Arena is much friendlier than playing at the goofy gym, and Vandy can continue to shoot bricks from three-point range all they want. Let’s also assume that Bama’s fourth of the bracket holds true to seed as well. The Cats would earn a rematch with Alabama, whom they lost to by four points in slow, grind-it-out, low-scoring game. The Cats haven’t gotten much better since then in terms of offensive flow, but could they pull it together in a Cats-friendly arena? Well, Alabama’s offense hasn’t proven much better than Kentucky’s- they average 62 PPG and have had outings of 50 points (win against Texas A&M), 53 points (loss against Tennessee), and most embarrassingly, 37 points in a loss to Auburn. That is the definition of ugly basketball, folks. In fact, Alabama has only scored 68 points once since they did it on January 12 against Tennessee. Surely the Cats can outscore that, right?

 

I’m going yes, having faith the Wiltjer and Mays’ shooting will carry us through. That takes us through to the championship game, having only had to play two games against Vandy and Bama. The assumption here is that we face Florida, the Wicked Witch of the (Former) SEC East- unless Missouri or Ole Miss pulls the upset. Tuesday’s game of Florida at Mizzou will tell us a lot more about those probabilities. But since this entire post is based on conjecture, I say that Ole Miss has no chance of upsetting Florida (at least Marshall Henderson will get to go out on a Saturday in Nashville, right?)), and Mizzou has a slim chance. I think Florida whomps their way to Championship Sunday, no problem.

 

Which leaves us with Florida. Again. And unfortunately, I think that’s where the SEC road ends for the Cats. It may be a neutral, Cat-friendly environment, but I just don’t see Willie Cauley-Stein being able to contain Patric Young in the middle. Nor do I anticipate Florida having a poor shooting game from the outside. Florida has proven themselves to be dominant all season, and while they may have lost to Arkansas, every “top” team in college basketball has dropped a game in somewhat embarrassing fashion. That’s not going to happen with Florida in the SEC Tournament.

 

The million dollar question- would making the SEC Tournament Finals be enough to get the Cats in the NCAA Tournament? Matt’s told us that the selection committee doesn’t look at how much a team loses by, so a loss to a good Florida team, no matter how many points, might not reflect too poorly on us. I want to say making the finals would be good enough, but it’s ultimately going to depend on those other six games we have left. If the Cats go 4-2 and make it to the finals, sure, send us to the tournament. But 3-3? 2-4? It might not be enough.

 

After the week UK fans have had, I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I’m still going to Nashville for the SEC Tournament. My unequivocal answer? Hell yes. The SEC Tournament is not going to be what we’re used to, but it may be the most crucial SEC Tournament in recent Cats’ memory, and the team will need our support more than ever at that point in the season. I’m a Cats fan, not just a Nerlens Noel fan, and regardless of what happens in these last six games, I’ll be in Nashville to support the Cats in hopes that they make a miracle run. I hope the rest of BBN is ready to do the same.

 

@KristenGeilKSR

Article written by Kristen Geil

32 Comments for If The SEC Tournament Were Today…



  1. nerlensnoelshair
    5:46 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    Going by what we know at this point in time, no they won’t be playing in the championship game. I think it would be an accomplishment at this point if we even hold on to the third spot going into the tourney. Sorry not very optimistic at this point.



  2. mudcreekmark
    5:53 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    Mute point. The brackets aren’t going to look anything like that at the end of the season.Next.



  3. Travis
    5:54 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    If the SEC TOURNEY were today…BBN would drink every last drop of KY bourbon before Friday.



  4. cadukfan
    5:57 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    the big blue mist fans will invade music city and the wildcats will upset the gators in championship game! p.s-have had a few beers this afternoon.



  5. UK Homer
    6:01 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    Bledsoe could be heading to the Jazz. Then we COULD be seeing Bledsoe and Kanter start on same team. As for the current Cats, these boys are angry and will whoop Vandy.



  6. Matt Jones
    6:12 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    Any time someone says something is a “mute” point (#2), I immediately laugh and disregard the rest of the comment



  7. 3
    6:12 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    I would love this. I’ll be in Nashville ready to go!!



  8. Unfortunately
    6:16 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    I see us playing on Thursday and being bounced on Friday. NIT Bound. Hope for better, but we were not that good before Noel was injured and much worse now. It has been a great run the past three years and more to come, just not this year. Cheer to the end, be excited about football and be get ready next year.



  9. Henry Earl
    6:16 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    Hey #2, what exactly is a “mute point”??



  10. Capt
    6:21 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    I’ll be pleasantly surprised if we win another game this year.



  11. bosshogg24
    6:35 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    What does it take to get Poythress and Goodwin to change? What does it take to make them feel embarrassed? No jump shots, no 3 pointers, just run over people and get charging calls!



  12. Kristen Geil's Abs
    6:38 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    This is the week we find the good fans from the bad. Just cheer for your team, and don’t bash them if they play poorly. The entirety of your pride and self worth shouldn’t be based on how well a group of 20 year olds play basketball.



  13. Sta minchia
    6:38 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    If Cal keeps playing Archie over 30 minutes a game, then no they do not have a chance. If Cal finally grows a pair and benches Archie and reduces his minutes, then yes they do have achanceto make the final.



  14. Utcats
    6:40 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    No way in hell this team can put up 68 against a good Alabama defense…. Although not good on defense…….Cats are more anemic on the offensive side of the ball in my opinion



  15. Loucoulo
    6:42 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    13 – Agree with you, why does Cal keep Archie ine game after he makes bone head plays after bone head play, while others get pulled right after a bad play.



  16. Need hope
    6:45 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    Who do you all think will be the starting line up on Wednesday and who do you wish will start!



  17. Mike
    6:45 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    Sickening….UT is still gloating over the victory…Knoxville headlines calling it the “Big Blue Massacre of 2013″…wish Cal would cut that out and blow it up and put on bulletin board or their individual lockers.



  18. red headed step child
    6:46 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    Hey #9, #2 can’t hear you. He’s muted.

    I want #BBN to boycott SEC Tourney. I’m so DAMN sick and tired of poor a$$ officiating that sets the tone for a game that forces injuries and technical fouled and an inflated rate. Keep your DAMN money and let the SEC know we are sick of the treatment the league fives us because they hate our coach.

    It’s not like the league NCAA revenues are going to amount to anything any way. You have to hit the pocketbook, ask Mitch.



  19. Jpo
    6:46 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    6&9. Hahahaha. The comment section is always 95% ignorant fans/trolls.



  20. JP
    6:52 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    Where is at next year?



  21. What Else?
    6:53 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    Of course they are, #17. What else do they have to celebrate? They just reached .500 percentage in the SEC.



  22. mudcreekmark
    6:55 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    9,19)I guess you all are the ones correcting everyone on the whole, loose, lose thing too right? Jerks!!



  23. HagginHall
    7:02 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    Funny how seasons like this make you truly appreciate seasons like last.



  24. mudcreekmark
    7:27 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    23)I appreciated every single minute of last year as it was happening. That was the most fun I have ever had watching UK basketball. Those guys made for a once in a lifetime team. The heart and the team work was amazing. Before last year the Unforgettables were my favorite team and maybe time has erased some of the memories but I think I have a new favorite for “favorite all time team.” The Wall Cousins team was fun also.



  25. Andrew
    7:29 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    22, god forbid you use correct grammar. Right, THEY are the jerks, not the person who knowingly refuses to stop butchering English.



  26. Matt Jones
    7:48 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    #22 yes the jerk is not someone who comes on a website anonymously and dismissively criticizes a post that someone has spent time and effort producing. No, the jerk is the person that notes that in that critique, the rude, dismissive comment was done with no understanding of the English language. I got it.



  27. Tony
    7:51 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    Lol you will be there alright….on someone else’s dollar! Would you pay your own way to Nashville? I think NOT



  28. Tampa Satchel
    8:04 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    2-What exactly is a mute point?



  29. mudcreekmark
    8:27 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    26) So I wrote mute and not moot and that makes me have no understanding of the English language. I see post on here every day that use the word there to mean their or lose to mean loose, or loss but I don’t sit here and correct them on their English like some jerk.



  30. tankercat
    8:32 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    a bunch of whatever, unless the guys can right the ship we will be playing in the first round of the sec tourny



  31. mudcreekmark
    8:41 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    30)Exactly my point. There is no way we will be the third seed in the SEC tourny. Right now we couldn’t beat Union College so it really doesn’t matter when or who we play in the SEC tourny. Anyone who thinks we have a chance to make the NCAA tourney is delusional or just plain stupid. There was about a fifty fifty chance before we lost Noel and lost to Tennessee. Both of those things happening this week has sealed our fate.



  32. Vicki from Whitesburg
    11:22 pm February 17, 2013 Permalink

    As their teacher, Coach Cal needs to call these boys Mamas and tell them their sons are not doing their homework, and are in danger of failing “the class.”