Headlines: Kentucky Wildcats’ to Play Arkansas in SEC Final

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  • Kentucky defeats Auburn in a slow-paced battle.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein reaching to be the ‘best version’ of himself.
  • “I got my wish” Portis says on playing Kentucky in the SEC final.
  • Kentucky named #1 overall seed despite not yet playing in the SEC final.
  • Although Wisconsin was believed to be the 2 seed in Kentucky’s region, now they could be knocking on the door of their very own region.

In a not-so-close battle yesterday evening, the Wildcats beat the Tigers of Auburn in what seemed like the worlds longest game of college basketball ever played. The game seemed to be a contest of who could blow a whistle and not who could score a basketball more. Tim Sullivan from the Courier-Journal reiterates:

"When the Kentucky Wildcats had completed their whistle-stopped tour of the Bridgestone Arena on Saturday afternoon, after 40 minutes of college basketball had produced 49 fouls, 69 free throws and at least one unstifled yawn on the UK bench, Wildcats guard Aaron Harrison said the game felt as if it had taken four or five hours to play. “It just really slowed the game down a lot,” he said. “It made us stop to take a lot more jump shots instead of running out and attacking. It was a chippy game, a lot of fouls. We tried to stay the course and stay focused. I think we did very well.” Fast break or slow grind, it matters not to the Big Blue Juggernaut. Kentucky overwhelmed short-handed Auburn Saturday, 91-67, extending its spotless season to 33 games and advancing to Sunday’s Southeastern Conference Championship game as the best, most complete and most adaptable team in the country."

Mar 14, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Trey Lyles (41) reacts to an injury during the first half of the semifinals against Auburn Tigers of the SEC Conference Tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Calipari has stressed that no matter the success his team has on the court, it is important that he says every player play as if they were their ‘best version’. After the Auburn game, Cal admits that Willie was just that. Jon Hale from Cats Illustrated has more:

More from Wildcat Blue Nation

"Cauley-Stein insists he does not plan to stare at an opponent that comes between himself and the rim, but he acknowledged taking notice when Kentucky fans began posting images of his trademark glare on Twitter and Instagram. “It’s more of just a look like, ‘What are you thinking? What are you doing?'” Cauley-Stein said. There was plenty for Cauley-Stein to stare about in the WIldcats’ 91-67 win vs. Auburn. One day after showing increased offensive aggressiveness vs. Florida but seeing 7 of his 9 field-goal attempts clank off the iron, Cauley-Stein led Kentucky with 18 points and seven rebounds vs. the Tigers. He hit 7 of 9 field-goal attempts in the game and added three blocks and two assists. “Willie was the best version of himself,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “That’s what we’re striving for. Hard to do that every night out, but he has that ability. It’s just hard. “I don’t want him to feel there’s an expectation he has to be that good every night, but strive to be that good.” The 18 points marked Cauley-Stein’s second largest scoring total of the season. He did a little of everything for the Wildcats with five jumpers and two dunks. He also converted 4 of 6 free-throw attempts. “Just the ball going in, it’s always a relief,” Cauley-Stein said. “But you just got to keep on doing it until it becomes first and second nature. So whatever you’re doing, you prepare for it, so when it finally goes in, it feels good.”"

Mar 14, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Willie Cauley-Stein (15) dunks over Auburn Tigers forward Alex Thompson (20) during the second half of the semifinals of the SEC Conference Tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Kentucky defeated Auburn Tigers 91-67. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports