- South Carolina Gamecocks - January 21, 2017 - Rupp Arena - 6:00 PM EST - ESPN
*** Courtesy of UKAthletics.com
Kentucky has received the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 overall seed and will serve as the top seed in the South Region. UK will play the winner of the first-round game of Mississippi Valley State (21-12) and Western Kentucky (15-18) on Thursday in Louisville, Ky., with a 6:50 p.m. ET tip. The game will air live on TBS with Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery on the call.
The No. 1 seed is the 11th in school history for the Wildcats, who will play their second- and third-round games in Louisville. This is just the third time in school history UK will play in the Derby City during the NCAA Tournament. In its last appearance in Louisville, Kentucky defeated Morehead State before losing to Ohio State during the 1961 tournament.
Kentucky has played in its home state on seven previous occasions. UK was last in the Bluegrass State during the 1984 tournament when the Wildcats appeared on their home floor, defeating Louisville and Illinois.
Western Kentucky won the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship this year, claiming an automatic bid into the NCAA Championship. UK is 3-2 all-time versus Western Kentucky with the last meeting coming in 2001 when WKU defeated the Wildcats 64-52.
Kentucky and the Hilltoppers have met twice before in the NCAA Tournament with the squads splitting the two meetings. WKU captured a win over the Wildcats during the 1971 tournament, with UK prevailing 71-64 in 1986.
The Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils, coached by former UK letter winner Sean Woods, won the 2012 SWAC Tournament Championship, claiming an automatic bid into the 2012 NCAA Championship. The Wildcats are 3-0 all-time vs. the Delta Devils including an 85-60 win a season ago. A matchup with the Delta Devils during the post-season would be a program first.
If UK prevails over Mississippi Valley State or Western Kentucky, it will face the winner of eighth-seeded Iowa State (22-10) and ninth-seeded UConn (20-13) on Saturday.
Kentucky is 1-0 during the NCAA Tournament against the Cyclones with the lone victory coming during the 1992 season. UK owns an all-time mark of 2-0 against Iowa State. In addition to the 1992 Tournament game, Kentucky earned a home victory in 1965.
UK has faced the Huskies twice before, dropping both matchups including last season’s 65-55 loss in the Final Four. Connecticut owns an all-time record of 4-1 against Kentucky. UK’s lone victory came during the 2009 season.
Also joining Kentucky in Louisville will be four teams from the West Region including Murray State, Colorado State, Marquette and the winner of the BYU/Iona play-in.
Should the Wildcats advance past the second and third rounds, they will play in Atlanta, in the South Regional semifinals on March 22-23. If UK continues to win, it will play in the South Regional finals on March 24-25 with a victory moving the Wildcats to the national semifinals on March 31. The national championship game is scheduled for April 2 in New Orleans.
Tickets for the first and second round games in Louisville are sold out with the exception of All-Session packages. However, tickets for Regional Semifinal and Regional Final in Atlanta are available online at ticketmaster.com or available through the host site.
UK will hold a student lottery on Monday at 5 pm at Memorial Coliseum for the second- and third-round games in Louisville. Students should refer to the student basketball website (http://www.ukathletics.com/
Game times and the ensuing schedule of events will not be available from the NCAA until Monday.
Cats hope to use SEC Tournament loss as motivation for NCAAs