LEXINGTON, KY – The Kentucky Wildcats went into this game winner’s of eight games in a row and clinched the SEC regular-season title, this past weekend. Due to these achievements, it was shocking to see the ‘Cats fall by 8 to the Volunteers, who for the most part, was completely out of the bubble conversation. The final score was 81-73 to the visiting Volunteers, who outscored the home team by 19 in the second half after trailing by 11 at the break. Forward John Fulkerson had a huge performance, scoring 27 and grabbing 6 rebounds. Josiah Jordan-James, Jordan Bowen, and Yves Pons were also all in double figures. Kentucky was led by freshman guard Tyrese Maxey who scored a team-high 21 in defeat.
After the game, Kentucky Coach John Calipari talked about the improvements the Wildcats need to make as the NCAA tournament looms on the horizon. “We have got to learn to play in these kinds of games,” said Calipari while also speaking on the physical nature of the Tennessee team that just beat them, saying “We got manhandled, I got manhandled.”
While slip-ups like this happen to every team, blowing an 11 point halftime lead to one of your rivals on Senior Night, (Only Nate Sestina was honored) has to be concerning to Kentucky fans around the country. The Wildcats (24-6, 14-3) will be back in action on the road in Gainsville, against a Florida team that has been inconsistent at best. The Vols’ will look to play themselves back into the picture with a Top 30 NET opportunity versus Auburn back in Knoxville, and currently have a 17-13 record overall and a 9-8 record within the SEC.
Bracketology Effect: Rick Barnes squad moves into the “others considered” category according to our Bracketologist Jonathon Warriner, and the Wildcats remain as the 3 in the Midwest even after the stunning loss.
Betting Effect: Covered: Tennessee +8.5, Over 131.5