After winning four straight SEC Tournament titles between 2015 and 2018, Kentucky will be absent from the championship game yet again after the No. 3 seed Wildcats lost 69-62 against No. 2 seed Tennessee in Saturday’s semifinals. The loss will also drop UK from a projected No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament to a projected No. 2 seed, according to CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm.
Kansas will return to Palm’s projected No. 1 seed line for the time being. The Jayhawks play Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament title game on Saturday night. Kentucky held projected No. 1 seed status for just over 24 hours following Auburn’s loss to Texas A&M on Friday in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.
The new No. 1 seed-line will look like this: Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas and Baylor
Tennessee will play No. 8 seed Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament title game at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday before the 6 p.m. ET NCAA Tournament Selection Show on CBS. The Volunteers entered Saturday’s action as a No. 3 seed in Palm’s Bracketology and will only solidify their standing after picking up a 10th Quad 1 victory.
This will mark Tennessee’s third time appearing in the SEC Tournament title game in the past four renditions of the event. But the Volunteers haven’t won an SEC Tournament title since 1979.
Tennessee should enter Sunday’s contest with plenty of confidence, though, after picking up a second straight victory vs. the Wildcats this season following a 107-79 loss at Rupp Arena on Jan. 15 in the first meeting. Tennessee put the clamps on UK on Saturday, holding the Wildcats to just 34% shooting and a 2 of 20 mark from 3-point range.
Freshman phenom Kennedy Chandler led the Volunteers with 19 points, which was an encouraging sign after he dealt with an ankle injury in Friday’s quarterfinal victory over Mississippi State. Keion Brooks Jr. led Kentucky with 19 points, while TyTy Washington Jr. added 17. Oscar Tshiebwe finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds but fouled out with 3:37 remaining.