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Big Blue Links: Kentucky faces Alabama-Ole Miss winner in SEC Basketball Tournament

Alex Poythress (22) with family, from left, father Antoine Poythress, sister Alexis holding her daughter Alivia, and his mother Regina Poythress, during Senior Day events before the LSU at Kentucky men's basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky, on March 5, 2016.
Alex Poythress (22) with family, from left, father Antoine Poythress, sister Alexis holding her daughter Alivia, and his mother Regina Poythress, during Senior Day events before the LSU at Kentucky men's basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky, on March 5, 2016. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Sunday:

▪ Labissiere keeps the faith and UK rolls LSU, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. Making his second straight start, Skal Labissiere scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 94-77 win.

▪ Looks like the lights have finally come on for Kentucky basketball, says my column. Skal Labissiere’s late surge has made a huge difference for John Calipari’s team.

▪ Tyler Ulis has put together a magnificent season, writes Mark Story of the Herald-Leader. He says it’s the best season by a point guard in the Rupp Arena.

▪ Don’t hold your breath on LSU, writes Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. As Saturday’s loss at Rupp Arena proved, the Tigers are a team going nowhere fast.

▪ Lots of talk and not much action for LSU, reports Sheldon Mickles of The Advocate. Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney says the talented Tigers just aren’t getting it done.

▪ It’s a sorry situation for Ben Simmons and LSU, writes Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports. The heralded No. 1 freshman was pulled from Wooden Award consideration because of academics.

▪ South Carolina whips UK women, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. The Gamecocks, top seed in the SEC Tournament, crushed the Cats 93-63 in the semifinals in Jacksonville.

▪ Tennessee couldn’t stop Mississippi State, reports Dan Fleser of the Knoxville News Sentinel. MSU plays South Carolina for the SEC women’s tournament title on Sunday.

▪ Texas A&M clinches No. 1 seed, reports Richard Croome of Bryan/College Station Eagle. Aggies beat Vanderbilt 76-67 to win share of conference title.

▪ Vanderbilt is No. 5 seed in the SEC Tournament, reports the Tennessean. The Commodores traveled to Texas in hopes of bigger things. It was not to be.

▪ Gamecocks clinch No. 3 seed, reports Kurt Voight of AP. Reeling of late, South Carolina gets it together to beat Arkansas in Fayetteville.

▪ Sebastian Saiz leads Ole Miss to win at Tennessee, reports Steve Mergaree of AP. The Rebels will play Alabama in the SEC Tournament. The winner plays Kentucky.

▪ Tennessee’s perfect storm never happened, writes Mike Strange of the Knoxville New Sentinel. The Vols flopped down the stretch.

▪ Alabama’s skid continues, reports Michael Casagrande of AL.com. The Tide’s loss to Georgia all but eliminates the Tide from an NCAA at-large bid.

▪ Georgia holds off an Alabama comeback, reports Connor Riley of the Athens Banner-Herald. The Bulldogs prevailed 70-63.

▪ Georgia now riding a three-game win streak, reports Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph. The Bulldogs are playing better heading to Nashville.

▪ Newman, Weatherspoon propel Mississippi State on Senior Day, reports Michael Bonner of the Clarion-Ledger. The Bulldogs took down Auburn 79-66.

▪ Florida beats Missouri in regular season finale, writes Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun. The Gators hope to take some momentum into Nashville.

▪ It was an atrocious end for Arkansas at Bud Walton, reports Eric Bolin of Arkansas News. The Razorbacks fell to South Carolina.

▪ Quality not quantity shooting becoming Murray’s trademark, writes Tipton. The freshman guard has strung together 10 consecutive 20-point games.

▪ Labissiere emergence changes the game, writes Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal. Labissiere has scored 29 points in last two games. He blocked six shots Saturday.

▪ Tyler Ulis is making plays look easy, writes Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal. Uis had 14 assists in win over LSU.

▪ Kentucky clinches share of title, reports Metz Camfield of CoachCal.com. Kentucky is the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament.

▪ Can Kentucky make it last? asks Eric Crawford of WDRB. The Cats are playing their best basketball at the right time.

▪ Kentucky is playing fun basketball, writes Josh Ellis of the Kentucky Kernel. Winning is lots of fun.

▪ Kentucky caps off regular season in style, reports Derek Terry of Cats Illustrated. Five Wildcats scored in double figures for the second straight game.

▪ UK fans taunt Simmons with “GPA” chant, reports Fox Sports. The eRUPPtion Zone gave Simmons the business.

▪ Empowered, confident Cats head to SEC, reports Darrell Bird of the Cats Pause. Kentucky in the correct post-season mindset.

▪ Saturday was likely last game for several Cats, writes Larry Vaught of Vaught’s Views. Poythress, Ulis, Murray and Labissiere are likely to wave goodbye.

▪ Kentucky primed for a post-season run, writes Keith Taylor of KyForward. UK went unbeaten at home for the fifth time in John Calipari’s seven season as coach.

▪ Kentucky football adds commitment from Belfry lineman, reports Ben Roberts of Herald-Leader. Austin Dotson committed on Saturday.

▪ Several questions for Alabama as spring football starts, writes Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News. We are talking about the defending national champion Crimson Tide, by the way.

▪ Kevin Steele is a players’ coach with bite, writes Michael Niziolek of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Steele is Gus Malzahn’s new defensive coordinator, coming over from LSU.

▪ Butch Jones long way from talking football only, writes Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Jones and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh had a Twitter run-in last week.

▪ There’s an art to hiring a first-year football staff, writes Seth Emerson of the AJC. New head coach Kirby Smart had to put one together at Georgia.

SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament pairings

All times ET

Wednesday

8:00 - No. 12 Tennessee vs. No. 13 Auburn (SEC)

Thursday

1:00 - No. 8 Florida vs. No. 9 Arkansas (SEC)

2:30 - Wednesday winner vs. No. 5 Vanderbilt (SEC)

7:00 - No. 7 Ole Miss vs. No. 10 Alabama (SEC)

9:30 - No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 11 Mississippi State (SEC)

Friday

1:00 - Florida-Arkansas winner vs. No. 1 Texas A&M (SEC)

2:30 - Tennessee, Auburn or Vanderbilt vs. No. 4 LSU (SEC)

7:00 - Ole Miss-Alabama winner vs. Kentucky (SEC)

9:30 - Georgia-Mississippi State winner vs. South Carolina (SEC)

Saturday

1:00 - First semifinal (ESPN)

2:30 - Second semifinal (ESPN)

Sunday

1:00 - Championship game (ESPN)

SEC men’s basketball standings

Seed

Team

W

L

W

L

1

Texas A&M

13

5

24

7

2

Kentucky

13

5

23

8

3

South Carolina

11

7

24

7

4

LSU

11

7

18

13

5

Vanderbilt

11

7

19

12

6

Georgia

10

8

17

12

7

Ole Miss

10

8

20

11

8

Florida

9

9

18

13

9

Arkansas

9

9

16

15

10

Alabama

8

10

17

13

11

Miss State

7

11

14

16

12

Tennessee

6

12

13

18

13

Auburn

5

13

11

19

14

Missouri

3

15

10

21

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