Even with his Kentucky Wildcats holding a comfortable lead for the entire second half of the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game, John Calipari didn't let up on his players. None other than 1 seed North Carolina.
The Seton Hall Pirates' era of prominence gains another leg with their second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017.
After recently struggling to start or sometimes finish games effectively, No. 8 Kentucky opened tournament play by taking control and maintaining it against one of its toughest foes. "With (Yante) Maten out, they still won".
Arkansas fell to 26-9 overall and will join the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament next week. Wildcats center Bam Adebayo added 10 points and nine rebounds. And point guard De'Aaron Fox earned SEC tournament MVP honors, scoring 18 points after putting up 28 against Alabama and 20 against Georgia.
"We're starting to click now because we're starting to mature, and it's showing", Adebayo said. The Tide outrebounded SC 43-28 and led for all but 40 seconds of the game.
"If we think back to where we were a month ago, with no prospects of getting into the tournament, (we were) just hoping to get into the NIT, maybe", senior forward Luke Kornet said in a still upbeat Vandy locker room. "That was the emphasis all week in practice".More news: Remy Ma Before and After Plastic Surgery: Watch Her Transform Over Time!
"I'm really proud of our guys", Alabama coach Avery Johnson said.
The Kentucky Wildcats (28-5) are coming from a 79-74 win over Alabama in which Dazon Ingram scored 17 points in 7-for-12 shooting from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line.
Who to watch: Alabama's Braxton Key is fresh off an 18 point, seven rebound game against SC and scored 21 against Kentucky back on February 11. "Make those plays and maybe we are going to the last minute of the game with a one point lead and have an opportunity to win". "There were times we were down 6 and fought back to come within 1 we fought hard and I liked our perseverance", said guard Riley Norris. "The second day in postseason (you've) got to be able to score". This was their 11th straight win. "The Florida home game last week, then the A&M game Thursday because we knew what was at stake, and then the overtime game against Florida". The Razorbacks have won two straight games in the first round - over Wofford in 2015 and in and 2008. Monk scored just six in a 71-63 victory over Texas A&M in the regular-season finale.
The game got heated in the final two minutes of the second half.
Vanderbilt scored the first seven points of OT, with LaChance's jumper with 4:02 to go putting the Commodores ahead to stay.