Men's Hoops Looks Back On Season
Wildcats tied for first in SEC East and fell two points short of moving into Sweet 16.
1999-2000 Kentucky Wildcats
Syracuse Ends UK's Season of "Adversity"
With only nine Wildcats available to Coach Tubby Smith, the fifth-seeded Wildcats advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before being eliminated by fourth-seeded Syracuse, 52-50. Kentucky left Cleveland with a final 23-10 record, but while the Cats fell short of their goal of a fourth Final Four appearance in the last five years, it was a roller-coaster season filled with many accomplishments.
UK bolted out of the gate, winning its first three games -- including victories over ranked foes Utah and Maryland -- to advance to the finals of the Preseason NIT. But a loss to Arizona in the championship game sent UK into a short tailspin. The Cats dropped four out of five games, losing to Dayton by two, Indiana in Indianapolis and Maryland in a rematch in College Park. The loss to the Terrapins dropped UK to 4-4 on the season with games against Louisville and Michigan State up next.
The Cats clawed back, hanging a 30-point defeat on the Cardinals before tackling the Spartans in Rupp Arena, 60-58. Kentucky proceeded to win 13 of 14 games, the lone defeat coming at Auburn on a controversial no-call in the waning moments of regulation. During the stretch, UK picked up wins over ranked opponents Vanderbilt and Tennessee, climbing back into the AP Top 25 at No. 11. In mid-February, UK stumbled on the road, losing at Florida, LSU and Tennessee. The Cats, once again showing their resilience, won their last three games of the season -- including a convincing 85-70 victory over Florida on UK's Senior Day -- to capture a share of the Southeastern Conference Championship.
Hot Arkansas eliminated the Cats in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. A week later, and without the services of starting guard Desmond Allison who was suspended from the team, UK grabbed a thrilling 85-80 double-overtime victory over upset-minded St. Bonaventure before losing to Syracuse in the second round. It was UK's earliest exit from NCAA Tournament play since 1994.
Overall, Kentucky tallied its 45th 20-win season en route to capturing its 40th SEC crown while earning victories over national champion Michigan State and runner-up Florida. Not bad for a team that began the season 4-4, played the nation's toughest schedule, shot the worst field goal percentage in 37 years at UK and set a school-record low 29.2 percent accuracy from three-point range.
Said Coach Smith, "It's been a good run for us. We had to overcome a lot of things this year. I am very proud of this team and I told them to hold their heads high."
FINAL STARTING LINEUP