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UK Tops Florida 61-57 and Clinches SEC Tourney 2-Seed as Big Dance Dreams Remain Intact [VIDEO]

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For a while there, I was concerned that Kentucky was going to help #11 Florida erase two big black marks on its basketball profile.

Florida has had a tough time on the road in SEC play as losses to Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas readily prove. Florida has also had a tough time winning games decided by fewer than 10 points; 4 of the Gators’ 5 losses–to Arizona, Kansas State, Mizzou, and Tennessee–were by single digits.

But there was Kentucky, gacking up an 8 point lead and allowing Florida to go on a 21-6 run and take a 7-point advantage. I thought, “Well, this is it. Florida’s gonna get a 1) single digit win 2) on the road.”

But, nothin’ doin’.

The ‘Cats took control at that point and shut the Gators down, scoring the game’s last 11 points and coming up with a 61-57 victory that puts them back on the right track for an NCAA Tournament bid. But their work is not finished. Oh no.

According to ESPN’s Bracketology guru, Joe Lunardi, Kentucky is now merely projected to be among the “the last four in.” This means if there is an upset somewhere else and a team that has to win its conference tournament to get to the Big Dance actually does, Kentucky could be pushed right back out, through no fault of its own.

No, UK must keep winning, and that includes Friday’s quarterfinal match-up in the SEC Tournament in Nashville against either the 7-seed or the 10-seed, because Kentucky has sewn up the 2-seed–no pun intended.

You see, like UK, three other teams started Saturday at 11-6 in SEC play. The ‘Cats, Alabama, and Ole Miss all won. Those three teams are now tied for second place, but the ‘Cats own the tiebreaker–they’re the only one of the three to beat the top-seeded Gators.

And now, SEC play has come to a close. With Arkansas and Vanderbilt both winning on Saturday, they will meet Thursday as the 7-seed and 10-seed, respectively. Kentucky gets the winner of that game. It’s a game the ‘Cats will absolutely need to win. It ain’t over.

 

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