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Takeaways from this week in SEC Basketball

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A roller coaster of a week for Kentucky basketball, as they gave up a 17-point lead in a loss at home to Tennessee, but followed it with an incredible 18-point comeback to beat Florida in Gainesville. Let’s take a look at some of the other takeaways from around the Southeastern Conference this week.


1. Kentucky’s wild week

The top two stories in the Southeastern Conference both came out games the Kentucky Wildcats were involved in. The first being the big upset victory for the Tennessee Volunteers at Rupp Arena. The Cats blew a 17-point second half lead to a Tennessee team that they are much better than. Kentucky had some players playing especially poorly and no one could stop John Fulkerson for the Vols, as he finished with 27 points on 10-15 shooting to go along with 6 rebounds.

Fans immediately took to social media to give the usual complaints. “This game shows Cal can’t coach!” and “This Kentucky team stinks!” filled the comment sections of KSR posts all week. In a shocking turn of events, neither of those types comments are actually true. More bad news for Kentucky was on the way, as reports of off the court issues with starting point guard Ashton Hagans started to arise and before long, rumors of him taking the Florida game off began to swirl, and were eventually confirmed.

The first 28 minutes of the Florida game looked a lot like the second half of the Tennessee game. Kentucky looked out of sorts and was being out-performed to an 18-point deficit. Then, a switch flipped, and the Cats began to claw back into the game. Slowly, but surely, both the offense and the defense improved, culminating in the game-winning tip-in from EJ Montgomery.

As a UK fan in my mid-20s, this is one of the least probable wins I can remember for a Kentucky team. In fact, ESPN gave the Cats a 1.1% win probability with just under 12 minutes to go and a 25.6% win probability with just 3:06 remaining. Check out the timeline below.

2. SEC Tournament bracket has been set

While we’ve known that Kentucky would be the number one overall seed in the SEC Tournament for over a week, the rest of the seeding was still being determined going into yesterday’s games. The final day of the regular season was certainly eventful and resulted in the below final bracket for next weekend in Nashville.

As most of us know by now, Kentucky will play at 1pm ET on Friday on ESPN against the winner of 8-seeded Tennessee and 9-seeded Alabama. The Cats split with Tennessee in two match ups so far this year and had a 9-point win over Alabama back at the beginning of January. The other top seeds on the same side of the bracket as Kentucky are 4-seed Mississippi State and 5-seed Florida. An interesting match up could happen between Florida and Mississippi State after Kentucky’s first game, as both teams need a win to keep their NCAA Tourney hopes alive. On the flip side, Auburn and LSU sit on the bottom of the bracket as the 2 and 3 seeds.

3. And your SEC Player of the Year is…

The end of the SEC regular season signals the beginning of award season, with a few Kentucky players assuredly appearing on the lists. For the past two plus months, Kentucky fans have been pushing for both Nick Richards and Immanuel Quickley to win over the voters for SEC Player of the Year. Saturday’s games may have decided the winner of the SEC Player of the Year, and it could be neither of the Wildcats listed above.

There are essentially two ways that voters look at conference player of the year voting across the country. The first is to take the player with the best overall stats in conference play, regardless of team results. The second is to take the best player from the best team in the conference, even if other players may have performed at a higher level. If the second option is taken on by voters, then Immanuel Quickley would by your winner, surpassing Nick Richards over the last month or so. However, if the first option is taken, then the award will likely go to leading scorer in the SEC, Arkansas’ Mason Jones.

Jones has been absolutely on fire in conference play, leading the SEC in scoring at 22 points per contest. This conference season, he’s had games scoring 30 or more seven times and has hit 40 once as well. If you include non-conference play, he’s gone for 30 or more eight times and has eclipsed 40 twice. His last four games have resulted in point totals of 37, 26, 36, and 30. With Immanuel Quickley struggling a bit over the last week, Mason Jones may have taken a permanent lead in this race.

4. Bracketology updates by the hour

When the Wildcats lost in embarrassing fashion on Tuesday night to Tennessee, the thought of being a 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament went out the window for Kentucky fans. However, after the big win at Florida yesterday and some losses by highly ranked teams, the possibility remains. Losses from #4 Baylor, #5 San Diego State, #8 Seton Hall, and #10 Louisville on Saturday may slide Kentucky into the last two seed line for the time being. Also worth mentioning that #9 Maryland lost earlier in the week as well.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi tweeted the below earlier today, with updates from yesterday’s games.

Kentucky is listed as the last two-seed in his estimation and with a draw that I’m sure no Kentucky fan would complain about. Remember now, that the top two seeds from each region are decided by geography, rather than seed ranking. That is why you see Kentucky matched up with the last one seed, rather than the top one seed as they would be if only seed ranking was considered.

Lunardi also released a full updated bracketology this morning to match the above. Check out Kentucky’s full East Region bracket below.

As for the rest of the Southeastern Conference, just three other teams are looking to get bids in the Big Dance, which isn’t any different than the last few weeks. Auburn jumped up to a 5 seed, with Florida and LSU both staying at a projected 9 seed. Mississippi State has been moved from the “First Four Out” down to the “Next Four Out”. Here are the rest of the regional brackets from ESPN.


@BrettBibbinsKSR

Article written by Brett Bibbins

Graduate of the University of Kentucky in 2015. Spend my free time watching sports, The Office or Harry Potter. Three-word phrases to live by: For The Kids and Cats by 90 @BrettBibbinsKSR

11 Comments for Takeaways from this week in SEC Basketball



  1. Righteous1
    10:10 pm March 8, 2020 Permalink

    Well Cal Lovers Wolfpack can you say UMass and Memphis? The final fours and NCAA title are about to be stripped from Ambassador Calipari and it is time for a regime change!!!!!



    • dcforuk
      10:19 pm March 8, 2020 Permalink

      Cal does have a job but I am not certain that you do!



    • CrystalBall
      10:55 pm March 8, 2020 Permalink

      Panic time fans. Anyone know to contact Rick Pitino. He might be looking for a job.



    • 4everUKBlue
      12:10 am March 9, 2020 Permalink

      There will be a coaching change……when Cal says so! You’re really reaching now, so pathetic.



    • CrystalBall
      12:37 am March 9, 2020 Permalink

      I was laughing at R1 with that comment. Sorry you took it serious. Will be more careful in the future.



    • runningunnin.454
      6:40 am March 9, 2020 Permalink

      Ha ha ha, the comeback win at Florida blew Righty’s mind; he’s drowning, and clutching at flotsam and jetsam.



  2. CrystalBall
    10:57 pm March 8, 2020 Permalink

    Can you help us out, R1?



  3. Rixter
    11:06 pm March 8, 2020 Permalink

    Mason Jones? Yeah, those are nice numbers. Let’s see.. your team plays, when.. Wednesday night? Yeah, congrats on wearing the home whites in that 11/14 match-up.. good work!



  4. Rixter
    11:06 pm March 8, 2020 Permalink

    Mason Jones? Yeah, those are nice numbers. Let’s see.. your team plays, when.. Wednesday night? Yeah, congrats on wearing the home whites in that 11/14 match-up.. good work!



  5. Rixter
    11:06 pm March 8, 2020 Permalink

    Mason Jones? Yeah, those are nice numbers. Let’s see.. your team plays, when.. Wednesday night? Yeah, congrats on wearing the home whites in that 11/14 match-up.. good work!



  6. Rixter
    11:06 pm March 8, 2020 Permalink

    Mason Jones? Yeah, those are nice numbers. Let’s see.. your team plays, when.. Wednesday night? Yeah, congrats on wearing the home whites in that 11/14 match-up.. good work!