7 things you need to know from UK’s 75-69 season finale loss to Kansas State
Seven things you need to know from No. 6 seed Kentucky losing 75-69 to no. 3 seed Kansas State in the 32nd round of the NCAA Men’s East Region tournament Greensboro Coliseum In North Carolina:
1. Kentucky’s tiny margin of error catches up. Due to injuries and other factors, Kentucky was fielding five players at the end of the season.
This meant that the Wildcats needed four of those five to play well to beat good teams.
On Sunday, the UK got strong performances from the stars Oscar Chibuy (25 points, 18 rebounds) and freshman Casson Wallace (21 points, nine rebounds, four assists) and Chris Livingston (11 points, seven rebounds, two assists).
However, two other key players at Kentucky, Jacob Tobin and Antonio Reeves, had a difficult experience.
Reeves, who had averaged 22 points a game over the previous six competitions for UK, shot 1-of-15, 1-of-10 on three-pointers, and didn’t score until 15 seconds into the game. He finished with five points.
And Tobin, who had averaged 16.5 points and nine rebounds over the previous six games, fouled after being taken 1 of 7 from the field. He finished with two points and four rebounds.
2. More than thirty “out of nowhere”. It looked as if every opponent of the season had thrown insane three-point shots at key moments against Kentucky.
So, in that context, what happened to the UK on Sunday as its season hung in the balance was apt.
With UK leading 62-61, Kansas State backup forward Ismail Masood buried a triple to put K-State ahead to stay, 64-62, at 2:15.
On the ensuing, Kansas State forward possession Keyontae Johnsonthe former Florida star, drained three from the right wing to push the lead to 67-62 and deliver what was, essentially, a dagger of the UK season.
Prior to that shot, Johnson was 0 of 3 on three wheels.
3. Kansas State knocks out UK in another ‘open bracket’. In the first weekend of the 2023 NCAA Tournament, the East Region “opened” at no. Top-seeded Purdue and two teams that many analysts loved as Final Four game favorites—no. 5 duke and seed no. 8 Memphis – already out.
Had Kentucky been able to advance, it would have viable Final Four aspirations. Instead, it’s the “purple wildcats,” not the blue ones, that are going to Madison Square Garden this week.
This is the second time in the past four NCAA tournaments when Kentucky appeared to be in a positive-breaking cycle only to see K-State knock out UK. In 2018, no. 4 Kentucky was the highest seeded team to reach the Sweet 16 only to be upset by No. 4 Kentucky. 9- Seeded Kansas State 61-58 in Atlanta.
4. Showdown marquee. match between Veteran Kansas State point guard Marquis Noel And new UK crew Casson Wallace more than lived up to expectations.
The 6-foot-4, 193-pound Wallace scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half and gave UK their last lead, 62-61, on a follow-up shot at 2:42.
The 5-8, 160-pound Noel was excellent in his own right, accounting for 27 points, nine assists and three steals.
A wizard with the ball, Noel delivered some notable reel passes while consistently delivering clutch baskets to winners.
5. The NCAA Calipari Magic Retreat. With Kentucky’s loss to Kansas State, John Calipari is now 8-2 as the UK’s lead in the NCAA round of 32 contests.
Before Sunday, Calipari’s only defeat came in a game as Kentucky coached Indiana, 73-67, in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
In the NCAA Tournament, Calipari is now 32-10 as UK coach. In his first five NCAA tournament appearances as the senior Cat, Calipari won, 22-4. He is 6-10 years old, since 2016.
6. Cats miss a chance to catch UNC. A loss to Kansas State means Kentucky has captured its 130th all-time NCAA Tournament victory. UK remains only behind North Carolina (131) for the most wins in the NCAA Tournament ever.
Coming into the Big Dance last year, Kentucky led North Carolina 129-126 in NCAA Tournament victory. However, the Wildcats lost to Saint Peter in Round 64 while the Tar Heels have won five times and finished as national runner-up.
This season, of course, North Carolina failed to make the NCAA tournament.
7. Oscar’s watch. With 25 points and 18 rebounds on Sunday, Kentucky star Oscar Cheppui finished the season with 1,117 points and 952 rebounds in his two-season career in the UK.
Tshiebwe stands no. 48 in Kentucky’s all-time scoring list behind no. 47 Randolph Morris (1,123), No. 46 Wah-Wah Jones (1,151) and No. 45 Vernon Hutton (1153).
United nations Kentucky list allTshiebwe passed Kenny Walker (942) for the No. 1 win. 6.
Now with 48 double-doubles in his UK career, Tshiebwe is tied with Cotton Nash (48) for second on the all-time list. Dan Issel (64 years old) is the first.
Tshiebwe has another season of eligibility available if he chooses to use it.
Kentucky basketball season is over. Here’s who is most likely to go, and who might return to the UK.
Box score from Kentucky’s 75-69 basketball loss to Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament
A Kansas State comeback dislodges Kentucky from the NCAA Tournament, ending the Wildcats’ season