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Cats No. 2 seed in Midwest Region with North Carolina as No. 1 seed

Kentucky players wait for their NCAA seed to show Sunday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON – The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team extended its national record for most NCAA Tournament appearances to 58 on Sunday, as the team was selected as the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region. The Wildcats will play Abilene Christian, the region’s No. 15 seed, on Thursday, in Jacksonville, Florida.
 
This is the seventh time in program history Kentucky has earned a No. 2 seed in the annual event. Most recently, the Cats participated as the No. 2 seed in the South Region of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, falling 75-73 to eventual national champion No. 1 North Carolina in the regional final after defeating the Tar Heels 103-100 in the regular season.
 
The Wildcats finished the 2018-19 regular season winning six of seven to cap off a 15-3 Southeastern Conference slate and a share of second place in the league standings. UK’s 27-6 overall record entering the NCAA Tournament includes winning streaks of 10, seven and four games.
 
Kentucky is 47-10 in NCAA Tournament openers and has won 24 of its last 25 opening-round games. The Cats own a 126-51 all-time record in NCAA action, with their .712 winning percentage the fifth-best in NCAA history. UK is making its sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
 
Kentucky is set for its first all-time matchup with Abilene Christian. ACU is coming off a 77-60 win over New Orleans in the championship of the Southland Conference Tournament on Saturday. Abilene Christian will be making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament after making the jump to Division I in 2013-14. ACU is 27-6 on the year and has won eight of its last nine games. Abilene Christian is averaging 74.4 points per game this season and is paced by senior forward Jaren Lewis, who is averaging 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
 
With a win over Abilene Christian, Kentucky would face the winner of the No. 7 Wofford (29-4) and No. 10 Seton Hall (20-13). UK has never faced Wofford, while the Wildcats and Pirates met in December at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Seton Hall claimed an 84-83 decision in overtime for a 2-1 lead in the all-time head-to-head series.
 
Tickets for the first and second round games in Jacksonville can be purchased by visiting NCAA.com/MBBTickets. Fans will find complete ticket information for all NCAA sites, including information on the NCAA Ticket Exchange (NCAA.com/Exchange), the official secondary marketplace for authentic NCAA Tournament tickets. Preliminary student ticket information is posted online at UKStudentTix.com and will be updated with specifics later this evening.

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  1. UK is not playing their best basketball down the stretch run. I haven’t seen the complete list of participants in the Midwest but what I have seen looks pretty daunting. I am not sure we could beat any of the Seton Hall, UNC, Wofford or Houston’s in the bracket. I would be surprised if we made it out of the regional. I worry about being out-coached as much as being out-played. We don’t seem to be entering the regional with the right amount of confidence or mental toughness.

    1. I plan to remind you of this post Mike when UK wins it all. Especially your comment “I would be surprised if we made it out of the regional.” Wow! What did you think about your UT boys getting smoked by Auburn. Didn’t hear Much out of you on that game. They certainly didn’t play their best basketball either, did they? Does that mean their players all stink and Barnes is done? Guess under your theory they are not ready for the big dance either. right? Maybe Barnes is losing it?

      1. Pup…..have you started nipping again? What ever made you think or believe they were my UT guys? I hate UT and graduated from UK…did you forget that. I didn’t even watch the game because of my hate for them, but the Auburn guys you were trashing a week ago didn’t play too bad after all did they? Say what you want about Pearl but you have to love his passion and he did have his guys jacked and bought in. Don’t know that Cal could have pulled that off after his guys playing 4 games in 4 days. Of course I want UK to win and get #9 and nothing would make me happier, However, as I have been stating, I don’t think we have a chance of getting out of regional or advance beyond with the WAY they have been playing lately. Cal can’t seem to get full team buy-in on either side at same time, and he tightens up toward the end of crucial games.

        1. OK Mike, we’ll see. Keep digging that hole.

  2. It’s going to be really interesting to see how this shakes out Mike and I’m curious as to what you would consider as a minimum of a successful season for the Cats? Frankly, I’ve been disappointed so many times in the past 65yrs that I’ve lowered my expectations and focused on just watching the recruiting and how all the pieces come together over the course of the year. Aside from Noel’s injury that resulted in the year we went to the NIT, Cal has given us an unbelievable decade of good to great basketball. Enjoy your interest in posting, so please keep it up!

    1. HFB…I guess going by the record, that alone, would constitute a better than a minimum of success with this year’s team and Cal’s tenure as well. Believe me, I know that I am not always correct, and I wear my emotions on my sleeve, but I just don’t have tolerance for not wanting to give all you have to give when you put on the UK uniform. Winning has always been in my DNA, and I have never been a good loser. That doesn’t mean I have always won at everything I have done or tried to do. Let’s hope the guys can find a way to put yesterday’s loss behind them and be the best they can be. We do have the talent and now I think there is more pressure on the coaching staff to perform. Can’t wait.

  3. Well Mike, you painted a picture for me of myself as a life long BIG BLUE FAN. It is absolutely amazing how our competitive nature and that Round Ball kind of mirror back to us our deep emotional and spiritual beliefs…to insist on being the best you can be, knowing you can start over again and again, and valuing and respecting others rights to think the way they do. Keep posting for an old man, and lets continue to marvel at how this year’s adventure plays out.

    1. Well the sad thing is that I don’t consider myself as an old guy, but the chronology clock suggests otherwise. I still feel like a younger man and TG still act like one for most of the time. As I am sure you have noticed, the work ethic today isn’t what it used to be and suspect never will return. Go Cats!!..hope they find a way to make us all proud.

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