In & around SEC men’s basketball

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NCAA Tournament Review

Kentucky is only two games away from becoming the first team in NCAA history to finish the year at 40-0. The Wildcats currently are 38-0, and are the first team to ever achieve that feat. 

Kentucky’s undefeated season nearly came to an end in the Elite Eight against Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish led for most of the second half, but the Wildcats didn’t miss a shot over the last nine minutes of the game and escaped with 68-66 win. Karl-Anthony Towns played his best game as a Wildcat, scoring 25 points on 10-13 shooting from the field.

Two days earlier, the Wildcats dominated West Virginia 78-39 in one of the most lopsided Sweet 16 games in NCAA Tournament history. 

John Calipari reached his sixth Final Four, and his team will face Wisconsin in a rematch of last year’s national semifinal. A season ago, the Wildcats defeated the Badgers 74-73 after Aaron Harrison buried a three-pointer late in the game. Badgers’ coach Bo Ryan is making his second appearance in the Final Four. 

On the other side of the bracket, Duke will meet Michigan State. 

The Blue Devils are making their 12th Final Four appearance under head coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Spartans are making their seventh Final Four under head coach Tom Izzo. 

Other SEC basketball news

Alabama’s quest to find a replacement for Anthony Grant is ongoing. Crimson Tide Athletic Director Bill Battle met with Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall, but Marshall opted to remain with the Shockers. Other potential candidates include Minnesota coach Richard Pitino, Murray State coach and Bama alum Steve Prohm and Louisiana Tech head coach Mike White.

Tennessee quickly found a replacement for Donnie Tyndall. The Volunteers hired Rick Barnes, who recently parted ways with Texas after 17 years. Barnes made the NCAA Tournament 16 times during his tenure in Austin, making one Final Four in 2003. 

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