UK Women's Basketball

Mitchell pleased with Cats' NCAA résumé

Kentucky women's coach Matthew Mitchell
Kentucky women's coach Matthew Mitchell

Every year in the post-mortem discussions with the NCAA Tournament selection committee chairperson, the phrase "body of work" comes up relating to teams and how they were seeded.

That phrase provides perspective.

It means a team won't be judged solely on its last win or its last loss.

If that is the case, Kentucky's body of work should speak volumes, Coach Matthew Mitchell said.


NCAA Women's Selection Special

When: 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN

The committee, which will unveil its tournament bracket on Monday night, likely will see a UK team that won the Southeastern Conference regular season outright. It will see a UK team that won 10 straight to start league play and went unbeaten at home.

But it also will notice that Kentucky (25-6) lost three in a row in the SEC, including an uncharacteristic loss at Alabama.

Mitchell said he isn't exactly sure how the selection and seeding process works, but if the committee wants to see toughness, it should spend some time perusing UK's body of work.

"You think of coming off a three-game losing streak and your back's against the wall and you have all sorts of pressure on you to do something that hasn't been done at your school," Mitchell said, referencing UK's regular-season title.

"And somehow you beat Vanderbilt, South Carolina and then go on the road to Mississippi State and play all three games in six days, with every person on your team knowing the ramification of each and every play. To me, that's what stands out and shows the toughness of the team. There was a lot of pressure on our kids to perform and they found a way."

UK also has impressive wins over ranked foes Duke, Tennessee, Louisville and Georgia.

The mock bracket by ESPN's Charlie Creme has eight SEC teams getting in. It also has the Cats as a No. 2 seed in the Fresno region, with the road starting in Chicago.

The other No. 2 seeds in Creme's mockup are Tennessee, Duke and Maryland.

Mitchell said his team would be pleased with that. UK has been a No. 4 seed the past two seasons. When it earned that spot in 2010, it was the highest seed for a Cats team since 1983.

This year, Kentucky is hoping for a higher seed.

"We're not going to cry and be deflated if we are a four seed, but we'll be pretty excited if we take a step forward in the NCAA Tournament process by getting something better than a four seed," Mitchell said.

The team will watch the ESPN selection show together on Monday night from the couches in Mitchell's basement.

"I just hope we can advance the program forward and that would mean getting something better than a four seed," he continued. "A four seed would be fine, and we'd be happy to have a four seed, but I don't think we're a four seed."

Mitchell, like the committee, is looking at the entire body of work. He's knows there is still plenty of basketball left to play, but he couldn't help reflecting on the season Kentucky has had so far.

UK isn't that far removed from a few seasons ago when the Cats were a .500 team wishing it could just make the tournament.

"I'm just proud that we're in," Mitchell said. "I'm so proud that we won the SEC regular-season championship."

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