The University of Kentucky spent Sunday afternoon putting a bow on their regular season. The Cats finished 30-1 overall, and 16-0 in the SEC. By beating Florida the Cats became just the 3rd team since 1956 to finish perfect in league play. The 30-1 regular season record gives UK their first 30 win regular season in their history. To say that this is a special team is an understatement. Now the post-season begins and it all starts over. The Cats are the #1 seed in the SEC Tournament in New Orleans and surprisingly the 18-13 Tennessee Volunteers secured the #2 seed in the SEC due to tie-breakers.
Kentucky will win the SEC Tournament (if they don’t I’m SHOCKED) and will move on to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The only mystery remaining is who gets the #1 OVERALL seed in the NCAA. Syracuse and UK both finished the regular season 30-1, both lost on the road. Syracuse’s loss came without the services of their center Fab Melo in South Bend against league foe Notre Dame. Kentucky of course lost a buzz-beater in Bloomington against a good Indiana team. Syracuse is #1 in the NCAA’s RPI, Kentucky is #2.
Regardless of whether or not UK gets the #1 overall seed over Syracuse is splitting hairs. Head to head I like the Cats’ due to their ability to beat zones. But committees, stats, the RPI, SOS and all the other measurement tools don’t think that way. In the end the Cats are a LOCK to play their 2nd & 3rd round matchups at the KFC Yum! Center to start the NCAA Tournament on Thursday/Saturday. May god be with the #16 seed that draws them.
The last questions to be answered are which Region is best for the Cats and who do they match up with? St. Louis or Atlanta? St. Louis is closer, but Atlanta is widely known as Cat Friendly territory and is a fit in the league that they currently play in. I’m betting the committee puts them in Atlanta.
For the Cards, they limped home to finish the regular season dropping 4 of their last 6. Two of those four losses were to the #2 Syracuse Orange both home and away, but the cause for many fans’ concern is the disappearing act of the Louisville offense. For that reason the Big East Tournament is going to be HUGE for the Louisville team in terms of seeding for the NCAAs and overall momentum.
The Big East Tournament could be for Louisville is the revenge train. The Cards play the winner of the Providence/Seton Hall game on Wednesday evening. And if they advance they will face the #2 seed Marquette Golden Eagles. If the Cards can continue to win games they would then have an opportunity to play the #3 seed Notre Dame (assuming they advance), before potentially playing Syracuse in the Final. Obviously winning 3 games and those being those opponents is unlikely, but it would work out that way if things worked out according to seed and the Cards were able to win their matchups.
At this point the Cards are limping along. Before this week most regarded UofL as a #4 seed overall. With losses to South Florida and Syracuse both lackluster offensively I would think the Cards have slipped to a #6 or possibly even a #7. Lose and the Cards might find themselves as a 8/9. If the Cards win their first game in the Big East Tournament and then get bounced by Marquette I could see Louisville be a 6/7. Beat Marquette and the Cards could move back into a 5 seed. Each win in the Big East likely moves up Louisville an entire seed in the NCAAs. Get past Marquette and Notre Dame and the Cards could sit at a 4. Win the whole thing I think they may get a #3. Who knows…….with the way Louisville has been playing lately we may not see them past Thursday anyway.
Lady Cards & Cats
The Lady Cats advanced to the Semi-Finals of the SEC Tournament before falling to the LSU Tigers in Nashville, TN. The UK women fell to the Tigers 72-61 and will await their NCAA Tournament seed which will be released Monday March 12, 2012. The Lady Cats have had an incredible season and finished 24-5 and are currently ranked 9/10th in the respective polls. At this point their loss to LSU shouldn’t hurt too badly, but it likely puts UK as a #3 seed during March Madness.
The Lady Cardinals took on St. John’s Sunday Night and fell in overtime to #21 St. John’s 68-62 in OT in Quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament held in Hartford, CT. The ladies are currently ranked 17/20th respectively and are likely looking at a 4 or 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Cards head into the NCAA Tournament 22-9 but eight of their nine losses came to teams currently ranked in the Top 25. The Cards only have quality losses and they also have a few nice wins to their resume` as well.
UK and UofL should both have exciting NCAA Tournaments, I look forward to seeing their draw on March 12th.
UK has started out a smoking hot 11-0 and Sunday their bats EXPLODED for a 20-0 win over Illinois-Chicago. The way this Cats baseball team is currently playing they are proving that they deserve to be in the Top 25 and should start getting votes in next week’s poll. Their next home game is slated for Tuesday against Tennessee Tech at 4:00 in Cliff Hagan Stadium.
UofL dropped their season opener two weeks ago in Clearwater to Minnesota. So with getting any chance of undefeated (that isn’t going to happen in College Baseball anyway) the Cards went ahead and have played some really solid baseball. The Cards are currently 8-3 on the season and fresh off winning a 3-game series against Pepperdine at Jim Patterson Stadium (2-1). The Cards take the field again on Tuesday at home against the Indiana Hoosiers at 3:00.
Johnny Patrick Interview
Former Cardinal and current New Orleans Saint Johnny Patrick had a nice interview with NationalFootballAuthority.com. Patrick was injured late in the pre-season and Head Coach Sean Payton said a few times during the season that Patrick could help them. The Saints had a bad week when it was revealed that Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams offered “bounties” for on the field “knockouts” among other unsavory incentives.
On Saturday Afternoon I was invited by several great Cards fans to the Syracuse game watch at Passtime Fish House in J-Town. The Cards lost, but the fish was so good it distracted me from the game (that’s a good thing). Lots of great people and discussions of Cardinal Athletics. I really hope to do it again soon!!!