Kentucky fell to Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament Championship on Sunday afternoon, but the postseason journey is just beginning for the Wildcats. As the top overall seed, UK now knows the road ahead to another Final Four appearance and a shot at their eighth National Championship starting with their second-round game against the winner of Mississippi Valley State and Western Kentucky. With a 32-2 record on the season, Kentucky wrapped up the overall number one seed in the NCAA Tournament despite Sunday's loss.
While the loss certainly stings, this year's primary goal was not to win their third consecutive SEC Tournament, but to have an opportunity to play for the National Championship. The last time Kentucky lost, a 73-72 buzzer beater to Indiana back in early December, they went on a 24-game winning streak. Kentucky will need just six wins to achieve their goal and be named NCAA National Champions.
Some notes on UK's draw ...
- UK is tied with North Carolina for all-time tournament wins with 105 and leads all teams with 52 tournament appearances. It is the second time in three years that Kentucky was given a number one seed.
- Kentucky is one of three number one seeds to not win their conference tournament. Syracuse fell in the semi-finals and North Carolina also lost in their tournament's championship game.
- Somewhat unexpectedly, Kentucky was placed in the South Region, which will be hosted in Atlanta. Atlanta is notoriously SEC Country and Kentucky has had much success there in the past. Many pundits believed that Kentucky would be placed in the Midwest Region out in St. Louis.
- The Wildcats will face the winner of Mississippi Valley State and Western Kentucky who will battle for the right to travel to Louisville. That game will take place in Dayton as part of the First Four on Tuesday.
- Kentucky's first tournament game will take place on Thursday, though game time has not been announced.
- The South Region is full of storylines and former foes for Kentucky, both this season and seasons past. Kentucky could potentially face Connecticut in the third round if they get past Iowa State in the 8/9 matchup. Connecticut is the defending National Champion and defeated UK in the Final Four last season.
- Kentucky and Connecticut are the two youngest teams in this year's NCAA field respectively. Western Kentucky is the third youngest.
- Kentucky could face fourth-seeded Indiana in the Sweet 16 if both teams make it that far. Indiana is responsible for handing the Wildcats their first loss of the year back in December. The Wildcats are 2-1 against the Hoosiers all-time in NCAA Tournament history.
- Duke is the No. 2 seed in the South Region. They will have a difficult road ahead with three seed Baylor in the way, but Duke could be a potential opponent in the Elite Eight for the Wildcats if both advance to Atlanta. Kentucky is 3-2 vs. Duke all-time in the NCAA Tournament with their last meeting coming in 1998. This season marks the 20th anniversary of Duke and Kentucky's matchup back in 1992 where Christian Laettner defeated UK with a last second shot to advance to the Final Four.
- Michigan State is the other number one seed on Kentucky's side of the bracket. Kentucky does not have a winning record against the Spartans in the NCAA Tournament, going 1-3 in their four previous meetings. Their last meeting came in 2005 in the Elite 8 when Michigan State defeated Kentucky 94-88 in double overtime. These teams could potentially meet in the Final Four in New Orleans if both number one seeds run through their regions unscathed.