SEC Tournament: Cats expecting 'fun' game against Vols in finals


This is the first time since 2015 that Rick Barnes, Tennessee's head coach, has made it to the NCAA Tournament.

As the snow fell outside, their Wildcats stayed hot. It's Tennessee's first appearance in the SEC semifinals since 2014.

Rewind to February 6th earlier this year. He laid it in to put United Kingdom ahead 64-62.

Since then, this series has been all Vols.

Admiral Schofield had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead Tennessee, which was attempting to win its first tournament championship since 1979.

Yet every time it seemed like Tennessee had taken control, Kentucky came back with a response of its own.

Tennessee has overachieved, at least relative to expectations and probably relative to any reasonable assessment of the individual talent on its roster, for the entire season.

Tennessee led by seven points at halftime, but MSU scored the first four points of the second half. The Tennessee Volunteers are allowing 31.9 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 36.2 rebounds per game. March Madness, here we come.

Kentucky continued its intense effort that started with the win over Georgia Friday when it held the Bulldogs to 28 percent shooting.

So what do we have?

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"I was just trying to play for him, play with a lot of energy like he did", Quinndary Weatherspoon said of continuing to play without his brother. When you are betting on the SEC title game from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Sunday take the Kentucky Wildcats over the Tennessee Volunteers.

"That's why this team is so unsafe", Knox said.

Sunday's game against Tennessee was the ideal litmus test for how far along these young Kentucky players have come.

Admiral Schofield insists Tennessee's play in the Southeastern Conference Tournament isn't about validating the school's remarkable and surprising regular season.

Barnes knows it won't be easy - because he's been paying attention. "I told you a few weeks ago not to count Kentucky out when they had some struggles". They looked like - and John does such a great job. "Really proud of them". "I think right now he's playing his best basketball because he's one of our leaders". These guys are growing up.

But of course, Cal got them to peak at the right time for the fourth year in a row and now BBN is rolling into the tournament looking strong.

The first time these two teams met in the conference championship game was in 1937, a game that ended in the Cats' favor 39-25. They can't be that old team Sunday if they want to reverse this season's trend against the Vols.

The offensive glass could be a major edge for Tennessee in this meeting.

Kentucky then steadied and regained the lead with a 14-2 run, moving back in front 52-43.