sounded off sounded off

The Kentucky Wildcats Trend Upward and Coach K’s “new” motto

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Antoine Walker, Kentucky Wildcats forward 1994-1996

The education of the NCAA History continues with the latest, and final, edition of NCAA Tournament at 75: Ranking the Champions. And as you would expect, UCLA and UK are heavily littered throughout the lot, though you may be surprised where UK’s teams have been placed.

"#5. Kentucky, 1996 Kentucky had a bevy of pros for Rick Pitino during the 1995-96 season that saw the Cats finish 34-2. This team was as impressive as I can remember in covering 20-plus Final Fours. The Wildcats seemed like professionals who weren’t afraid of the moment, constantly embracing challenges. Ron Mercer, Antoine Walker, Tony Delk, Wayne Turner, Walter McCarty & Co., formed one of the most loaded rosters in NCAA tournament history and finished with a perfect 16-0 mark in SEC play that season. These Cats were entertaining and played the way Pitino wanted — defending, trapping and pushing the basketball. — Andy Katz #16. Kentucky, 2012 “I wanted everybody to see we were the best team this season. We were the best team. I wanted this to be one for the ages.” That was Kentucky coach John Calipari just a few minutes after cutting down the nets at the 2012 Final Four, where his collection of NBA-ready talent — the most important among it freshmen Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — had finished steamrolling the rest of college basketball with stifling defense, hyper-efficient offense and a cohesion well beyond their years. It’s too early to know whether the 2012 Wildcats will be a team for the ages, but there’s no doubt they’re the team for their age. — Eamonn Brennan #30. Kentucky, 1978 The Wildcats had not secured the national title in 20 years prior to Joe B. Hall’s run to the championship with this squad. Jack “Goose” Givens led the way with a ridiculous 41-point effort in the title game victory over Duke, earning MOP honors as he led the Wildcats to their fifth national title. Rick Robey, a 6-foot-10 forward/center, also earned all-tourney honors that year. This wasn’t the program’s most dominant run to championship. The Wildcats trailed against Florida State in the opening round and escaped Michigan State in the regional finals. But it was a solid team that stepped up in crucial moments. — Myron Medcalf #43. Kentucky, 1998 The 1998 Wildcats certainly weren’t as talented as Kentucky’s other seven national championship teams, but no UK squad was as resilient as the “Comeback Cats.” While playing in Smith’s methodical style of “Tubby Ball,” Kentucky finished 35-4 and won a national championship despite not having any of the All-Americans or future NBA lottery picks that were abundant on previous Cats teams under Rick Pitino. UK earned its moniker during the final three games of the NCAA tournament. The Cats came from 17 points behind to beat Duke 86-84 in the regional finals, and then erased a 10-point deficit in the second half of an 86-85 overtime victory over Stanford in the national semifinals. In the national championship game, UK spotted Utah a 10-point lead at the half before winning 78-69. — Mark Schlabach #59. Kentucky, 1959 n some ways it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Kentucky claimed its second straight NCAA title in 1949. The Wildcats, after all, returned the player who had won them the trophy the previous season. Alex Groza was a three-time All-American and the leading scorer on the 1948 U.S. Olympic team. Groza scored 25 points — no other Wildcat tallied more than five points — in Kentucky’s 46-36 victory over Oklahoma A&M in the national championship game in Seattle. He was then selected with the No. 1 pick in the 1949 NBA draft by the Indianapolis Olympians, for whom he averaged 23.4 points as a rookie. But in 1951, an investigation revealed that Groza and teammates Ralph Beard and Dale Barnstable accepted bribes to shave points while at Kentucky. Groza and Beard were banned from the NBA for life. — Jason King #64. Kentucky, 1948 Adolph Rupp is a legend in Kentucky for the four national titles he brought to the state. This was his first, and it was won in a way that would define the success of his tenure — with hard-nosed defense. The Wildcats held Baylor to just 16 first-half points in their 58-42 championship game victory, which made Kentucky just the second program ever to win both the NIT and the NCAA title. And it got all those folks in Kentucky riled up about hoops for the first time. It’s hard to imagine a universe in which this isn’t the case, but it had to start somewhere. –Eamonn Brennan #69. Kentucky, 1958 Adolph Rupp’s squad rose above teams that featured Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati), Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas) and Elgin Baylor (Seattle) to win the national title. That Kentucky squad did not feature one consensus All-American. But it beat Temple by a point on a Vernon Hatton shot in the final seconds during the Final Four. And it defeated Seattle by 12 in the championship game despite Baylor’s 25-point effort. Hatton and Johnny Cox made the all-tournament team. But location certainly helped. The Wildcats played their regional games in Lexington and the Final Four in Louisville. It was like a home game for the program. They may have experienced a different outcome at a more neutral site. — Myron Medcalf (Personal Note: If you have to beat the players mentioned above, the team deserves a higher ranking) #72. Kentucky, 1951 Adolph Rupp won his third national championship in four seasons after leading Kentucky past Kansas State in the 1951 title game. Kentucky was led by 7-foot center Bill Spivey, a first-team All-American who scored 22 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in the win over K-State. UK finished the season 32-2 and beat Louisville, St. John’s and Illinois during the tournament. — Conor Nevins"


I’m indulging a little here for the final of the five but my alma mater is the subject so it’s all good. From

"2013 OVC Tournament Tiebreaker Scenarios The field for the 2013 OVC Men’s Basketball Tournament is almost set but there are still four teams vying for the final two spots. Here’s a breakdown from the league: 2013 OVC Men’s Basketball Tournament Tiebreaker Scenarios Belmont, Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State, Murray State, Southeast Missouri and Tennessee State have clinched spots in the field. Two spots remain open for Eastern Illinois, SIUE, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin. Seeds locked up into place: 1. Belmont (13-2) 2. Murray State (10-5, West Division winner) 3. Eastern Kentucky (12-3) 4. Tennessee State (10-5) 5. Morehead State (8-7) 6. Southeast Missouri (7-8) Other records entering final game of regular season: Eastern Illinois (5-10), SIUE (5-10), UT Martin (5-10), Tennessee Tech (4-11) The winner of Saturday’s SIUE/Eastern Illinois is guaranteed a spot in the field (6-10 record). If UT Martin wins at Austin Peay it is guaranteed a spot in the field (6-10 record). They are also locked into the field with a SIUE loss. If Morehead State and Southeast Missouri are tied at 8-8 … MOR won the season series 1-0 and would be the No. 5 seed; SEMO would be No. 6 (Note: If JSU finishes at 8-8 and figures into the tiebreaker – but cannot receive a seed because they are ineligible – there would not be a difference and MOR would still finish higher than SEMO) If SIUE and UT Martin are tied at 6-10 … UTM won the season series 2-0 and would be No. 7 seed; SIUE would be No. 8 If Eastern Illinois and UT Martin are tied at 6-10 … EIU won the season series 2-0 and would be No. 7 seed; UTM would be No. 8. If Eastern Illinois, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin are tied at 5-11 … TTU would be 2-0 in composite tiebreaker and be the No. 8 seed EIU would be 2-1 and UTM 0-3 in composite tiebreaker and be eliminated  If SIUE, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin are tied at 5-11 … UTM would be 2-1 in composite tiebreaker and be the No. 8 seed TTU would be 1-1 and SIUE 1-2 in composite tiebreaker and be eliminated If Eastern Illinois and UT Martin are tied at 5-11 … (Note: This assumes Tennessee Tech losses to Morehead State on Saturday) Eastern Illinois won the season series 2-0 and would be the No. 8 seed If SIUE and UT Martin are tied at 5-11 … (Note: This assumes Tennessee Tech loses to Morehead State on Saturday) UT Martin won the season series 2-0 and would be the No. 8 seed"