In & around SEC men’s basketball


NCAA Tournament Review

Kentucky’s dream of a perfect season came to a screeching halt on Saturday (Apr. 4) at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers in the Final Four in Indianapolis. The Wildcats had a four point lead with less than seven minutes to play but Wisconsin took the lead and never looked back after a Sam Dekker three-point basket. The Badgers executed much better than Kentucky down the stretch, and the Wildcats couldn’t buy a bucket late in the game.

The Wildcats were still the first team in NCAA history to start a season 38-0, and although they didn’t get the job done, this was a very accomplished UK team.

Duke defeated Wisconsin in the national title game 68-63, earning coach Mike Krzyzewski his fifth national championship. 

All-SEC postseason awards 

Player of the Year

Bobby Portis, Arkansas

Defensive Player of the Year

Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

Coach of the Year

John Calipari, Kentucky

Freshman of the Year

Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky

First Team 

Guard: Stefan Moody, Jr., Ole Miss;  K.T. Harrell, Sr., Auburn

Forward: Bobby Portis, Soph., Arkansas; Karl-Anthony Towns, Fr., Kentucky

Center: Willie Cauley-Stein, Jr., Kentucky

Second Team 

Guard: Josh Richardson, Sr., Tennessee; Danuel House, Jr., Texas A&M

Forward: Jordan Mickey, Soph, LSU; Jarrell Martin, Soph, LSU

Center: Damian Jones, Vanderbilt (So.)

Third Team 

Guard: Michael Qualls, Jr., Arkansas; Craig Sword, Jr., Mississippi State

Forward: Levi Randolph, Sr., Alabama; Marcus Thornton, Sr., Georgia Dorian Finney-Smith, Jr., Florida

All-Freshman Team

Guard: Riley LaChance, Vanderbilt; Tyler Ulis, Kentucky; Devin Booker, Kentucky 

Forward: Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky; Trey Lyles, Kentucky 

SEC news

* Alabama hired Avery Johnson as its new head basketball coach. Johnson, 50, won an NBA title as a player in 1999 with the San Antonio Spurs. As a head coach in the NBA, Johnson won Coach of the Year with the Dallas Mavericks and led the Mavs to an NBA Finals appearance in 2006. Johnson also coached the Brooklyn Nets after his stint in Dallas. While he does not have any head coaching experience at the collegiate level, Johnson has strong ties to the South, which should help in recruiting. 

* Kentucky didn’t win the national championship, but the Wildcats will lose several players to the NBA draft. Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison and Trey Lyles are all expected to enter the draft, and Dakari Johnson and Devin Boo-ker might follow suit. 

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