In & around SEC mens basketball

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

NCAA Tournament 

Connecticut became the first seventh seed to win the NCAA Tournament by defeating Kentucky, 60-54, on Monday (Apr. 7) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. The Huskies, led by senior guard Shabazz Napier, led the Wildcats for the entirety of the game, although the ‘Cats threatened to take the lead in the second half. Napier led the Huskies with 22 points and earned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. Fellow senior Ryan Boatright chipped in 14 points. Kevin Ollie went 6-0 in his first NCAA Tournament as a head coach as he led the Huskies to their fourth national championship, all since 1999. The Huskies finished the season at 32-8.

Kentucky’s run to the national title game was just as improbable as UConn’s, especially since the Wildcats started five freshmen. John Calipari’s squad had high expectations but struggled throughout the course of the regular season. The Wildcats, however, started to play to their potential in the SEC Tournament. While Kentucky didn’t win the national title, Calipari once again proved that not only is he among the best recruiters in college basketball but also one of the best coaches. Forward James Young led the Wildcats with 20 points against the Huskies. Kentucky finished the season at 29-11. 

UConn knocked off ano-ther SEC team in the Final Four in defeating Florida, 63-53, snapping the Gators’ 30-game winning streak. Prior to Florida’s Final Four loss to the UConn, the Gators’ last defeat was back in December to the Huskies. DeAndre Daniels led the Huskies with 20 points, while Boatright and Napier scored 13 and 12 points respectively. The Gators were led by senior center Patric Young with 19 points. Casey Prather also scored 15 points. Flo-rida ended the season at 36-3.  

SEC Men’s Basketball Postseason Awards

First Team 

Guard: Scottie Wilbekin, Florida (Sr.); Jordan Mc-Rae, Tennessee (Sr.)

Forward: Casey Prather, Florida (Sr.); Julius Randle, Kentucky (So.)

Center: Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee (Jr.)

Second Team 

Guard: Jabari Brown, Missouri (Jr.); Trevor Releford, Alabama (Sr.)

Forward: James Young, Kentucky (Fr.); Johnny O’Bryant III, LSU (Jr.)

Center: Patric Young, Florida (Sr.)

Honorable Mention

Guard: Chris Denson, Auburn (Sr.); Charles Mann, Georgia (So.); Jarvis Summers, Ole Miss (Jr.); Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss (Sr.); Jordan Clarkson, Missouri (Jr.); K.T. Harrell, Auburn (Jr.); Josh Richardson, Tennessee (Jr.)

Forward: Bobby Portis, Arkansas (Fr.); Rod Odom, Vanderbilt (Sr.); Jordan Mickey, LSU (Fr.); Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, (So.)

All-Freshman Team 

Guard: Andrew Harrison, Kentucky; Aaron Harrison, Kentucky 

Forward: James Young, Kentucky; Bobby Portis, Arkansas; Julius Randle, Kentucky 

Coach of the Year

Billy Donovan, Florida 

Player of the Year

Scottie Wilbekin, Florida 

Freshman of the Yea

Julius Randle, Kentucky 

Sixth Man of the Year 

Dorian Finney Smith, Florida 

Defensive Player of the Year 

Patric Young, Florida

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