LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s basketball extended its national record for most NCAA Tournament appearances to 56 on Sunday, March 12 as the team was selected as the No. 2 seed in the South Region. The Wildcats will play Northern Kentucky, the No. 15 seed in the region, on Friday night, March 17 in Indianapolis. The game will be shown on CBS at around 9:30 p.m. ET.
Earning a No. 2 seed for the seventh time in program history, Kentucky enters the NCAA Tournament fresh off Sunday's 82-65 win over Arkansas (25-9) to seize the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship. The victory was UK’s 11th straight, which ties for the fifth-longest winning streak in the country entering the tournament.
The Wildcats (29-5) also finished the regular season with a 16-2 record in league play to claim its 48th regular-season league championship as well as the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament. It was UK’s fifth SEC regular season title in eight seasons under John Calipari (pictured).
UK is 44-10 in tournament openers and has won 23 of its last 24 first round tournament games. UK owns a 121-49 record all-time in NCAA action, with its .711 winning percentage the fourth-best in NCAA history.
Kentucky has only faced off against in-state opponent NKU once in the history of the two programs, with the Wildcats picking up a 93-63 victory on Nov. 10, 2013. The Norse will be making their first trip to the NCAA Tournament, having compiled a 24-10 overall record and winning their first Horizon League Tournament Championship by downing Milwaukee, 59-53. With the victory, Northern Kentucky earned the automatic NCAA Tournament bid in their first year eligible to do so after being granted full Division I status in August.
With a win over Northern Kentucky, Kentucky would face the winner of the No. 7 Dayton/No. 10 Wichita State matchup. Dayton holds a 24-7 record on the season and 15-3 in Atlantic 10 action. The Flyers are coming off a 73-67 loss to Davidson in the quarterfinals of the A10 Championships, 72-69, on March 10. Wichita State owns a 30-4 record this season, including a 17-1 mark in Missouri Valley Conference play. The Shockers won their fourth MVC Tournament Championship on March 5 and have won their last 15 contests. Kentucky is 0-1 against Dayton and 1-0 against Wichita State in the all-time series.
Tickets for the first and second round games in Indianapolis can be purchased by visiting NCAA.com/tickets. Fans will find complete ticket information for all NCAA sites, including information on NCAA Ticket Exchange, the official secondary marketplace for authentic NCAA Tournament tickets.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught