Sidelines with John Clay

For Kentucky basketball, some unusual seeds left in crazy South Region

Photo slideshow: Kentucky stops Buffalo cold to reach NCAA Sweet 16

Kentucky put an end to any upset talk on its watch Saturday, getting 27 points and a near-perfect shooting game from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in a 95-75 victory over 13th-seeded Buffalo.
Up Next
Kentucky put an end to any upset talk on its watch Saturday, getting 27 points and a near-perfect shooting game from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in a 95-75 victory over 13th-seeded Buffalo.

The South Region bracket has completely fallen apart. No. 1 seed Virginia lost Friday. No. 2 seed Cincinnati lost Sunday, blowing a 22-point lead to Nevada. No. 3 Tennessee lost Saturday to Loyola-Chicago. No. 4 seed Arizona lost Thursday night to Buffalo.

Going into Thursday’s South semifinals in Atlanta, No. 5 Kentucky is the highest seed. The Cats will play No. 9 seed Kansas State at Philips Arena at about 9:37 p.m. No. 7 seed Nevada plays No. 11 seed Loyola-Chicago at 7:07 p.m. Both games are on CBS.

Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com analytics site now gives UK a 57 percent chance of winning the region and making it to San Antonio for the Final Four.

This is the sixth time John Calipari’s eight seasons that he has taken Kentucky to the Sweet 16. The seeds that join him in Atlanta are a far cry from the seeds UK is used to seeing in regional semifinals and finals.

Only once, in 2010, has Kentucky played worse than a No. 5 seed in a regional semifinal or final. If UK wins Thursday, both seeds it plays in Atlanta will be a No. 7 seed or worse.

The list:

2010 - No. 1 seed in East

▪ No. 12 Cornell — Won 62-45

▪ No. 2 West Virginia — Lost 73-66

2011 - No. 4 in East

▪ No. 1 Ohio State — Won 62-60

▪ No. 2 North Carolina — Won 76-69

2012 - No. 1 in South

▪ No. 4 Indiana — Won 102-90

▪ No. 3 Baylor — Won 82-70

2014 - No. 8 in Midwest

▪ No. 4 Louisville — Won 74-69

▪ No. 2 Michigan — Won 75-72

2015 - No. 1 in Midwest

▪ No. 5 West Virginia — Won 78-39

▪ No. 3 Notre Dame — Won 68-66

2017 - No. 2 in South

▪ No. 3 UCLA — Won 86-75

▪ No. 1 North Carolina — Lost 75-73

But then you can make the case that this entire NCAA Tournament has fallen apart. Just six of the 16 No. 1 through No. 4 seeds made it to the Sweet 16.

A look at the top four seeds.

No. 1 seeds

▪ South — Virginia lost in first round to No. 16 seed UMBC 74-54

▪ West — Xavier lost in second round to No. 9 seed Florida State 75-70

▪ East — Villanova advanced to Sweet 16 with 81-58 win over Alabama

▪ Midwest — Kansas advanced to Sweet 16 with 83-79 win over Seton Hall

No. 2 seeds

▪ South — Cincinnati lost in second round to No. 7 seed Nevada 75-73

▪ West — North Carolina lost in second round to No. 7 seed Texas A&M 86-65

▪ East — Purdue advanced to Sweet 16 with 76-73 win over Butler

▪ Midwest — Duke advanced to Sweet 16 with 87-62 win over Rhode Island

No. 3 seeds

▪ South — Tennessee lost in second round to No. 11 seed Loyola-Chicago 63-62

▪ West — Michigan advanced to Sweet 16 with 64-63 win over Houston

▪ East — Texas Tech advanced to Sweet 16 with 69-66 win over Florida

▪ Midwest — Michigan State lost in second round to No. 11 seed Syracuse 55-53

No. 4 seeds

▪ South — Arizona lost in first round to No. 13 seed Buffalo 89-68

▪ West — Gonzaga advanced to second round with 90-84 win over Ohio State

▪ East — Wichita State lost in first round to No. 13 seed Marshall 81-75

▪ Midwest — Auburn lost in second round to No. 5 seed Clemson 84-53

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments