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UK didn’t do themselves any favors during this season, but was able to fight their way into the NCAA Tournament. UK was made a 6th seed and had to take on a very tough 11 seed Providence featuring former UK Wildcat Bryce Hopkins. Big Blue Nation has come to expect the unexpected with Kentucky, meaning you never know which team is going to show up. Case and point, losing at home to South Carolina and what turned out to be a good Vanderbilt team in Kentucky’s first game of the SEC Tournament. Or would it be the UK team that beat Tennessee twice during the season. It was anyones guess.

The “GOOD” Kentucky showed up against Providence and defeated them 61-53. Kentucky would do some things that have eluded them most of the season. They played really good defense, hit crucial free throws late, they got 25 rebounds from Tshiebwe and Reeves and Toppin continued to shine. Kentucky fell behind 2-0 to start the game and after back and forth lead changes, UK tied the game at 6 at the 14:24 mark in the first half. After several more lead changes, Kentucky again evened things up at 19 at the 8:10 mark. Reeves would then hit a three giving the Cats a 22-19 lead which they would never let go of. Reeves would hit 2 more treys giving the Cats their biggest lead 36-25 at the 1:43 mark of the first half. Kentucky would go in to the half at 38-31.

The second half was a back and forth affair with UK outscoring Providence 23-22. Neither team could get in to much of a rhythm. For the game neither team shot the ball well at all. Providence hit on 5 of 24 three pointers for 20.8% and 21 of 58 for 36.2%. Providence only took 11 free throws hitting 6 for 54.5%. Kentucky surely didn’t fair much better hitting 5 of 16 from three for 31.3% and going 23 of 63 for 36.5%. Kentucky hit 10 of 13 free throws for 76.9%. The stat of the game was rebounding as UK gathered 46 rebounds, 16 offensive. Providence had 27 rebounds with 7 offensive.

UK got a little help in their bracket as a couple of upsets could make a Wildcat run to the Final Four a bit easier. The upper part of the bracket saw Florida Atlantic upset Memphis and Farleigh Dickinson, a 16 seed, upset #1 Purdue. This helped out Duke?Tennessee more than anyone as the winner of their game will play the winner of Florida Atlantic/Farleigh Dickinson. UK next plays Kansas State, and with a win will play Michigan State/Marquette winner. If they can somehow win those games Kentucky will likely face Tennessee/Duke winner for a chance at the Final Four.

It had been 1,449 days since Kentucky won an NCAA Tournament game. This was the first since March 29, 2019 for those keeping track. UK has a golden opportunity to make a run. The problem is, which UK team shows up?

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