xt7xwd3pwh34 https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7xwd3pwh34/data/mets.xml Wildcat News Company 1986 Volume 10 -- Number 26 athletic publications  English Wildcat News Company Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. The Cats' Pause UKAW University of Kentucky Men's Basketball (1985-1986) coaches Sutton, Eddie players Byrd, Leroy (Baby Magic) Rupp, Adolph UK vs. LSU (March 1, 1986) UK vs. University of Tennessee (February 27, 1986) Dean, Joe SEC Men's Basketball Championship (1986) University of Kentucky Football (1986) Claiborne, Jerry Groves, John Rouse, William statistics schedules Cats' Pause Combs, Oscar The Cats' Pause,  "March 8, 1986" text The Cats' Pause,  "March 8, 1986" 1986 2012 true xt7xwd3pwh34 section xt7xwd3pwh34 Welcome To SEC Tournament
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The Cats' Pause
"SPOTLIGHTING UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY AND SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE
VOLUME 10 - NUMBER 26
SATURDAY, MARCH 8, 1986
University Archive Margaret I. King Library - H&ffli Univef Lexington
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Major College Conference Standings
	W L Pet		W L	Pel
17	1	944	26 3	897
13	5	722	19 9	679
13	5	722	19- 8	704
10	8	556	16 11	593
9	9	500	21 10	677
9	9	500	16 11	593
7	11	389	13 14	4B1
5	13	278	12 15	444
4	14	222	11 16	407
3	15	167	6 21	222
SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE
Conference Afl Games
x-Kentucky .......
Auburn............
Alabama..........
Florida..........
Louisiana St ..
Geofgia ........
Vanderbilt .....
Tennessee . .... Mississippi
Mississippi St.....
x-clinched regular-season title OHIO VALLEY
x-Akron
Middle Tenn........
y-Yongstwn St......
Murray St
Austin Peay.....
Tennessee Ten
E Kentucky.......
Morehead St ......
x-won regular-season title
y-won tiebreaker
10	4	714	20 7	.741
10	4	.714	21 9	700
8	6	571	12 15	444
8	6	571	16 11	593
8	6	571	14 13	519
6	8	429	13 14	.481
5	9	357	10 17	370
1	13	071	8 19	296
	METRO COLLEGE ATHLETIC					
Louisville	.......... 10	2	833	24	7	774
Memphis Slate	...... 9	3	.750	25	4	862
Virginia Tech	...... 7	5	583	22	7	.759
Southern Miss	........... 6	6	500	17	10	630
Cincinnati	5	7	4I7	11	15	423
Fionda Stale	3	9	250	11	16	.407
Sooth Carolina	........ 2	10	.167	12	15	.444
	SUN BELT					
x CHd Dominio	, ......11	3	.786	22	7	759
W Kentucky .	........10	4	714	22	7	.759
y Al -Brmnghm	....... 9	5	643	24	10	.706
Jacksonville .	.........: 9	5	643	21	9	700
Va Cmmnwlth	....   ... 6	8	.429	12	16	.429
y-South Alabm	S	9	357	16	16	500
South Florida	..... ...... 5	9	357	14	14	.500
N C Charlotte	...... ..... 1	13	071	8	20	286
x-won regular-season title y-won tiebreaker
ATLANTIC COAST
Duke ......
Georgia Tech . N Carolina
Virginia.......
N. Carolina St.. Maryland Clemson ... Wake Forest .
x-St Josephs y-West Vitgini
Temple.....
St. Bonaventur Duquosne Geo Washngtn Massachusetts y Rhode Island Perm St Rutgers
x-won regular-season title
y-won tiebreaker
BIQ EAST
x St John's ........14 2
Syracuse ..............14
Georgetown......... 11
Vtilanova ..........10
Providence ., ....... 7
...........12	2	857	?9	2	935
..........11	3	786	23	5	821
..........10	4	714	26	4	867
.......... 7	7	500	18	9	667
.......... 7	7	500	18	11	621
...... 6	8	429	17	12	586
.......... .3.	11	214	17	13	567
........ 0	14	000	8	20	286
ATLANTIC 10					
.........16	2	889	24	5	828
...........15	3	833	22	9	710
...........15	3	833	24	5	828
..... 10	8	556	15	13	.536
......... 9	9	500	15	14	.517
....... 7	11	389	12	16	429
.......... 6	12	.333	9	19	321
.......... 5	13	278	9	19	321
......... 5	13	278	12	17	.414
...........2	16	111	8 21		276
Pittsburgh ............. 6
Boston College. ., 4
Connecticut . 3
Seton Hall .............. 3
2
5
6 9
10
12
13 13
875 875 688 625 438 .375 .250
27 4 23 4 22 6
871 .852 .786
21 12 636 15 12 556 15 12 .556
IE
13 14
12 14
13 17
481 462 433
x-won regular-season lille
BIG EIGHT
x Kansas ......	... N .... 13	1	929	28	3	903
Iowa St .....	.......... 9	5	643	18	9	.667
Oklahoma .....	. .. B	5	.615	24	6	800
Nebraska......	......... 8	6	571	18	9	667
	.......... 8	6	571	21	12	636
Oklahoma St.	.......... 5	8	385	14	12	.538
Kansas SI	.. ....... 4	10	286	16	13	552
Colorado ......	... 0	14	000	8	19	296
x-clinched regular-season title BIG SKY
N Arizona.......	.   ... 9	5	643	19	8	704
Montana .........	...... 9	5	.643	19	9	679
x Idaho St.........	... 8	6	.571	15	12	556
Weber St ......	...... 7	7	.500	17	10	630
Nevada Reno .....	.... 7	7	500	13	14	481
Boise St .....	. .. 6	8	429	12	15	444
Montana St ......	...... 6	8	429	11	16	407
Idaho ........	..... 4	9	308	11	17	393
x-ineHgible lor conference tournament BIO SOUTH
Baptist.....	. 6	1	857	18	9	667
x-N C.-Ashevill......	4	2	667	17	8	680
x-Winthrop..........	.. 5	3	625	19	8	.704
x-Armstrng St ........	.. 5	3	625	13	9	.591
Augusta	4	4	.500	11	16	407
Radtord	.. 3	4	.429	11	16	407
Campbell..........	3	6	333	9	18	.333
x-Coasl Caroln.....	.. 1	. 7	.125	8	16	333
x-Dtvision 1 eltgibtity	1986-87 BIG TEN					
Michigan.............	. 12	4	750	25	4	.862
Indiana ..............	12	4	750	20	6	769
Michigan SI...........	.11	5	688	20	6	.769
Purdue...............	10	6	625	21	8	724
Illinois . . . .......	10	6	625	20	8	.714
Iowa ....~.........	8	8	.500	18	11	621
Ohio St...........	.'. 8	8	.500	14	12	538
Minnesota ............	. 5	It	.313	15	14"	517
Wisconsin .......	3	14	176	11	16	407
Northwestern	. 2	15	118	8	19	296
COLONIAL ATHLETIC
x-Navy .......
Richmond .. George Mason y-N C -Wlmogtn East Carolina y-Amertcan U . Willim & Mty   :. James Madisn
13	1	.929	25 4	862
..12	2	857	23 5	821
. 10	4	714	17 10	630
6	8	429	16 12	571
. 6	8	429	12 16	.429
. 3	11	214	10 17	370
. 3	11	214	7 20	259
3	11	214	5 23	.179
x won regular-season title y-won tiebreaker
x-Drexel Holslra . y-Bucknell Latayene
EAST COAST
11     3 786 .9    5 .643 . 8    6 571 .. . 8    6 571
17 11
16 12
17 11 14 14
607 571 607 500
Lehigh ........                           6 8 429
y-Towson SI......                     5 9 357
Rider..........                               5 9 .357
Delaware                   ..   4 10 .286 x-won regular-season title y-won tiebreaker
13 15 464
8 20 286
9 19 321 11 16 407
ECAC METRO
x-F Dickinson . Mansl ......
Loyola. Md. .
Wagner .....
SI Francis. P . Robert Morris . Monmoth. N J St Frncs. NY Long Island U . x-clmched
12	3	800	19	7	.731
11	5	688	16	11	593
10	6	625	15	11	577
10	6	625	15	12	556
8	8	500	10	17	370
6	10	375	9	17	346
6	10	.375	9	19	321
4	11	.267	9	17	346
4	12	250	9	18	333
regular-season title ECAC NORTH ATLANTIC
x-Northeastern.....	16	2	889	23	4	852
Cantsius ......	.....14	4	.778	20	7	.741
Boston U........	......13	5	722	19	8	704
Siena ...........	.....12	6	.667	20	7	.741
Niagara ..........	..... 10	8	.556	14	13	519
y-Harttord ......	. . . 10	8	.556	12	15	.444
New hampshir .	... 5	13	.278	11	16	407
Vermont	. 5	13	.278	9	18	333
Maine ..........	...... 5.	13	278	7	19	269
Colgate ....	..... 0	18	.000	1	24	.040
x-clinched regular-season title y-not eligible tot conference title GULF STAR
x-Sm Hstn St ......	8	1	889	26 4	867
x-Stephen Asm	... 7	3	700	22 5	815
NW Louisiana .	7	3	.700	11 16	407
SE Louisiana ......	3	5	375	9 17	.346
Nicholls St ........	.... 2	7	222	8 15	348
SW Texas St.....	..... 0	9	000	5 21	.192
x-Division I eligibility 1986 B7
IVY LEAGUE
x-Brown .......	..... 10	4	714	16	10	615
Pennsylvania	...... 9	5	643	15	11	.577
Cornell .........	..... 9	5	.643	14	12	538
Princeton .........	..... 7	7	500	13	13	.500
Yale ...........	.. 7	7	500	13	13	500
Columbia .......	....... 6	8	429	12	14	462
Dartmouth	...... 6	8	429	11	15	.423
Harvard ........	....... 2	12	143	6	20	231
x-won regular-season title
METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC
x-Fairfi9ld.....
lona .......
La Salle .....
St Peter's ... Fordham . .. Holy Cross
Army ........
Manhattan- ....
x-won regular-season title
MID-AMERICAN
3	1	929	23 6	.793
9	5	643	14 15	483
8	6	571	14 14	.500
7	7	500	16 12	.571
7	7	.500	13 17	433
6	8	429	12 17	414
5	9	.357	9 18	.333
1	13	.071	2 26	071
x-Miami, Ohio.........	16	2	889	23 5	.821
Ohio U .............	. 14	 4	.778	21 6	778
Ball Si.........	.... 11	7	.611	18 9	.667
No Illinois.........	... 10	8	.556	15 11	.577
Toledo..........	8	10	.444	11 16	.407
W Michigan ....	... 7	11	389	12 15	.444
Kent St......	. . 7	11	389	11 16	407
Cent Michtgn ......	7	11	389	11 16	.407
E Michigan .......	... 5	13	278	9 18	.333
Bowling Green.......	.... 5	13	278	7 20	.259
x-clinched regular	season title MORE				
	MID-CONTINENT				
x-Cleveland St..	. 13	1	.929	24 3	889
SW Missor St.......	. 10	4	.714	21 6	778
Z Illinois ...........	8	6	571	18 11	.621
W Illinois............	.... 7	7	.500	13 14	.481
Ill -Chicago ........	.. 7	7	500	12 15	444
Valparaiso .........	5	9	.357	9 18	333
N. Iowa ...........	... 3	11	.214	9 17	.346
Wis -Green By.....	3	11	.214	5 22	.185
x-clinched regular-season title					
MISSOURI VALLEY
x-Bradley
Tulsa .....
Drake .....
Illinois St Wichita St. Creighlon ... Indiana St . West Texas SI.. So. Illinois ..
6	0	1.000	29	1	967
0	6	625	20	8	714
0	6	.625	18	9	.667
9	7	563	14	13	.519
7	9	.438	14	13	519
7	9	.438	12	15	.444
5	11	.313	11	16	407
4	12	.250	10	17	.370
4	12	250	8	20	286
x-clinched regular-season title
PACIFIC COAST ATHLETIC
x Nev-Las Vgs Cai-lrvtne .... New Mexic St. San Jose St .
Fresno St .........
Fullerlon St........
Utah St ........
Cal Santa Barb Long Bech St.....
x-ciinched reoular-season lille
16	2	889	28	4	.875
12	6	667	16	11	593
10	8	.556	16	11	593
9	9	500	16	11	593
9	9	500	16	13	552
8	10	.444	15	14	517
8	10	444	15	15	.500
8	10	.444	12	15	444
.7	11	389	12	15	444
3	15	.167	" 77	22	.241
MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC
x-N Car A&T	...........12	2	.857	20 7	.741
Howard	...........11	3	.786	18 9	.667
Morgan St	........... 7	6	538	7 19	.269
Delaware St	........... 7	7	500	11 16	.407
Coppin St.	........... 7	7	500	10 17	.370
	..'......... 5	9	357	10 17	.370
Bethune-Ckmn	.......4	10	286	6 21	.222
Md East Shor,	........... 2	11	154 .	3 23	115
	MIDWESTERN	COLLEGIATE			
x-Xavier, Ohio	..........10	2	833	24 4	857
St Louis	........... 8	4	.667	18 11	.621
Deiroit .	........... 7	5	.583	14 15	.483
Loyola. Ill .	.......... 7	5	583	13 16	448
Otal Roberts .	.......... 5	7	417	10 18	.357
Evansville	.......... 3	9	250	8 19	296
Bullet......	2	10	.167	9 19	.321
x-won regular-season title					
	PACIFIC-10				
Arizona . ..	...........13	3	813	22 7	759
Washington	......... 12	4	.750	18 10	.643
Calrlornia .	........... 9	6	600	17 8	680
UCLA ......	........... 8	7	.533	14 11	.560
Oregon St. ..	........... 8	7	533	12 12	.500
Stanford	........... a	8	.500	14 14	500
Arizona St	.....7	10	412	13 14	.481
Washington St.	.......... 6	10	.375	13 16	448
Southern Cal .	.....4	12	250	10 16	.385
Oregon ......	...... 4	12	250	9 17	346
x-Tn -Chattang . y-Davidson Marshall Appalachin SI . y-W Carolina East Tennesse
y-VMI .......
Furman ......
Citadel......
SOUTHERN
12	4	.750	21	8	724
10	6	625	19	10	655
10	6	625	19	11	633
9	7	563	17	12	586
8	B	.500	14	14	500
8	8	.500	13	16	448
5	11	313	11	17	393
5	11	313	10	17	.370
5	11	313	10	18	.357
9	3	.750	18	9	667
8	4	.667	18	9	.667
7	5	583	17	10	630
6	6	500	15	12	556
6	6	500	18	10	.643
4	8	.333	10	17	370
2	10	167	12	17	.414
x-won regular-season title y-won tiebreaker
SOUTHLAr
x-NE Louisian......
McNeese St.....
Arkansas St .....
y-Louisran Tch .
Lamar............
North Texs St . Texas-Arlirvgtn
x-won regular season title
y-won tiebreaker
SOUTHWEST
Texas
Texas Chrislin Texas A4M So Methodist Texas Tech Houston Arkansas
Baylor ......
Rice........
Soulhem U . Alcorn SI Miss Valley .. Jackson St Texas Soutbrn Gramoling Alabama Si Prairie View
x-Ark -L. Rock Samtord y-Houston Bpt Hardm-Smmns y-Mercer Ga Southern Centenary Georgia SI z- Stetson
y-won tiebreaker
z-ineligible for title in 1985-86
WEST COAST ATHLETIC
.......12	3	800	17	9	654
......12	4	750	20	7	.741
. 12	4	750	18	10	643
.....10	6	625	16	9	667
...... 8	7	533	13	13	500
...... 8	8	500	14	13	519
4	12	250	12	15	444
3	13	188	11	16	407
	14	125	9	18	333
SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC					
11	3	786	19	7	731
........ 11	3	786	15	12	556
.........10	4	714	17	9	654
9	5	.643	13	14	481
.......6	8	.429	9	17	346
4	10	286	14	11	560
....... 4	10	286	1 1	16	407
1	13	071	2	24	077
TRANS AMERICA					
.......... 12	2	857	20	10	667
..... B	6	571	16	12	571
7	7	500	14	14	500
7	7	500	15	13	536
6	8	429	15	13	536
....... 6	8	429	15	13	536
..... 6	8	429	12	16	429
.'<'.'. 4	10	267	10	18	357
			9	18	333
x-Pepperdine ..	..... 12	1	923	24	4	857
Loyola Calif . .	....... 10	3	769	18	9	667
San Diego	......... 8	5	615	18	9	667
Gonzaga ......	.....7	6	538	14	13	519
Santa Clara	.......... 6	7	462	11	16	.407
Portland......	.......... 4	9	308	13	14	481
St Mary's	____-.:., 3	10	231	10	16	385
San Francisco	......2	11	154	7	20	.259
x won regular-season title						
	WESTERN ATHLETIC					
x-Wyoming .	........ 12	4	.750	18	10	643
Texas-El Paso	.....12	4	750	24	5	828
Utah.........	........12	4	.750	20	8	714
Brigbam Yong	...... 11	5	688	16	12	571
New Mexico	....... 8	8	500	16	12	.571
San Diego St.	..... 7	9	.438	9	18	333
Colorado St	..... 6	10	375	11	17	393
Air Force	...   ..   . 3	13	188	g	18	333
Hawaii.....	1	15	063	4 23		148
:-won regular season Mlp
INDPENDENTS
Notre Dame Chicago Si E. Washington Pan American Marquette New Orleans Dayton
DePaul.....
SW Louisiana Miami, Fla. . Tennessee St.
Utica.....
Florida A&M .. U S Internatnl Brooklyn   ., . Cenl. Florida . Texas-San Antn.o
21	5	808
21	6	7 78
20	8	714
19	a	704
17	9	654
16	10	625
17	11	607
15	12	556
15	12	556
14	12	538
14	14	500
14	14	500
12	16	429
8	19	296
8	21	27b
6	20	231
6	24	200
 UK Moves Up To No. 3, Eyes SEC Tourney Title
Wow! What a weekend.
Who would've believed the Kentucky Wildcats would be standing on the threshold of a top four national ranking by March 1?
That's exactly the situation Eddie Sutton and his Wildcats are facing as they enter play this week in the Southeastern Conference Basketball Tournament here at Rupp Arena.
The question must be asked. Is this a fairy tale season for UK? Has Kentucky discovered Cinderella's slipper?
Kentucky has defied the odds all season long. First, it was a coaching change as Sutton replaced Joe B. Hall.
Most predicted a season of adjustment. Perhaps a 20-win season could be salvaged, but it would take longer for Sutton's true skills to surface.
Just didn't happen that way folks.
My goodness, there were wins over Indiana and Louisville as well as the championship of the UKIT in December. Only a 16-point loss at Kansas prevented a perfect start.
While December was a marked achievement in anyone's book, the best had not yet arrived.
Sutton's Cats fashioned a brilliant 17-1 SEC mark, only the second time since 1970 that a SEC team compiled such a flashy mark.
Along the way, UK polished off foes previous Wildcat teams only dreamed of beating. Like ALabama in Tuscaloosa, LSU in Baton Rogue, and heaven forbid, Tennessee in Knoxville.
Now comes the SEC Tournament in, of all places, Lexington.
Made to the order, you might say.
If SEC opponents were able to win only one game in eighteen during the regular season (and that was in Auburn), just how are the Cats going to be beaten in friendly Rupp Arena where the Cats consistenly win over 92 percent of their games each season
With Kentucky's victory over LSU Saturday, the Cats should move up again in the na tional polls.
Coupled with Georgia Tech's upset loss to Illinois and North Carolina's defeat at the hands of Duke, Kentucky should be ranked No. 3 nationally this week.
That's very important since this week's poll will be the last before the NCAA Tournament selection committee makes its decisions this weekend.
Just how high will the NCAA Committee rank UK this coming Sunday? That's the big gest question of all.
That's hard to say, but there is evidence to support certain theories under certain conditions.
Such as UK winning the SEC Tournament. If that happens, Kentucky will be a lock (par don the pun, Rob) for a top regional seed, either in the Southeast or the West.
Based on the fact that UK should be rank ed in the top four in this week's poll, the Cats would only solidify their position by winning the conference tournament.
Where the NCAA Committee would place them is another matter. Other considerations are given beside the wire services' polls Strength of schedule is considered as well as
how well a team plays on the road versus neutral sites and home games.
UK's only three losses came on the road Kansas. Auburn and N. C State. In a way, all three losses are almost a plus. Kansas most likely will be ranked No. 2 again this week. Both Auburn and N. C State have been casual members of the Top 20 this season. Only Kansas beat UK decisively and that was early in the season when the team was still adjusting to its now coach.
On the plus side is the 26-3 record, including an unbelievable 8-1 mark on the road in the SEC. Wins over Louisville and Kansas, despite being at home, are big pluses. A win over NCAA-bound Pepperdine, which has gone unnoticed by many people, is another plus.
The minuses.
Kentucky's schedule, by way of strength, is not ranked among the nation's top fifty by the NCAA. There are two reasons. One is that too many cream puffs dotted the December card. We'll get into that a little deeper later on.
The other reason is because the higher you're ranked, the tougher it is to get credit for playing a tough schedule. For example, if you're ranked No. 1 in the country, then every school which plays you gets credit for playing the nation's top-ranked team. On the other hand, every team you play is ranked below you. so you're suddenly not playing a level of compeition equal to your rating.
What really hurt UK's strength of schedule were early games against Northwestern State of Louisiana. Chaminade. Hawaii and VMI. Other contests were against Cincinnati and East Carolina, but they weren't all that damaging.
Now, don't get me wrong. The schedule is the kind of opposition that UK should be competing against, but it could cost UK a No. 1 regional seed in the end. It shouldn't but, if the committee should want to play checkers with the Cats, the NCAA will certainly use the schedule as a means of justifying an all-expenses paid around-the-world trip.
Where will the Wildcats go?
You can forget the East Regional. It'll be loaded with the likes of ACC people and the city slickers from the Big East. And you don't have to worry about going back to Dayton, Ohio for the Midwest. Kansas has the number one spot there.
The only way UK could wind up in the Midwest is for Kentucky not to be ranked among the top four by the NCAA.
That leaves the traditional homeground of the Southeast Regional and the West Regional.
First, the Southeast.
Sub-regionals are in Baton Rouge, La and Charlotte, North Carolina. Regional semifinals and finals will be held at the Omni in Atlanta.
This is the natural if UK rated among the top four. Duke, ranked No. 1 would go East, Kansas at No. 2 would go Midwest, Kentucky third would go Southeast and either Georgia Tech or North Carolina (whichever would be No. 4) would go West.
Sounds good, but there are those who claim that North Carolina will go no farther West than the stateline for the first round (one of the East sub regionals is also played in the state of North Carolina).
The West Regional has been kind to teams east of the Mississippi River before. Remember North Carolina State won the NCAA title by going the West route. Georgetown turned the same trick in 1984. The West has been known to be the weakest among the four regions in the past. Some teams actually want to be sent West.
Eddie Sutton isn't talking about where he would like to go. He maintains his only concern right now is winning the SEC Tournament this week at Rupp Arena. But he couldn't be faulted for keeping a watchful eye on the meetings out in Kansas City this weekeend.
Another factor to be considered is the role of Georgia Tech which may have severely damaged its own chances of staying home at the Omni when the Rambling Wreck lost a home game to Illinois Saturday.
In fact, Tech made sure it didn't jeopardize its chance of playing at home by virtue of an unwritten NCAA policy this past season.
The NCAA selection committee decreed about a year ago that no school could play a regional semi-final or championship game in an arena where the school had played more than half its regular season home games. Tech played six games of its 13 home games at the Omni this season.
Because of the upset at the hands of Illinois. Because Kentucky has rapidly moved up the ladder and because the Cats are champions of the SEC, which is a part of the Southeast Region. Tech's chances of staying at home as a No. 1 seed have been seriously damaged. Still, Tech could stay as a No. 2 team.
Or the NCAA could still seat Tech No. 1 (if Tech should be impressive in the ACC Tourney this week or if UK should get upset early) and send Kentucky to the weaker West Regional as the No. 1 seed where the stiffest regional competition would come from a team UK upset in last year's tourneyUNLV.
Back to the SEC Tournament.
As always, it should be a dandy. Thursday's quarter-final action should be as exciting basketball as anyone will ever want to see.
That afternoon session will have Alabama going against Georgia and LSU taking on Florida. If that's not enough, then how about Auburn battling the winner of the Vanderbilt-Mississippi State game and Kentucky meeting the winner of the Tennessee-Ole Miss contest later that evening?
What makes the Thursday's afternoon action so exciting is the fact that both winners will have a second chance to qualify for an at-large NCAA bid while the losers can head home and wait for the NIT folks to call.
Both Alabama and LSU would appear to have an automatic NCAA bid already wrapped up. but losses in the first round could leave some committee members wondering if they really deserve such an invitation.
And we must not forget that LSU has lost
five consecutive SEC Tournament games and hasn't won a tourney game since the opening round of the 1981 tourney.
Florida will be no piece of cake for anyone, especially Dale Brown and LSU.
Now, our fearless picks.
But first we must remind you that it was this space which predicted at this time exactly one year ago that the Auburn Tigers would become the seventh team in seven years to win the SEC Tournament.
There were those who snickered or laughed at our suggestion, that a seventh place team could win the SEC title with a lame duck coach. Ole Sonny proved a lot of folks wrong.
And just think, had Sonny not won the tourney, he probably wouldn't be coaching Auburn today. And his replacement could have been a fellow by the name of Eddie Sutton. Just thought you Kentucky folks might want to think about that one for a while.
Sonny, a few Kentucky fens might come up and shake your hand during your stay in Lexington. Just thought you might want to know why.
Back to the predictions. There won't be an eighth different champion in eight years. Mind you. Florida will give it the ole college try, but the Gators just won't have enough firepower.
Our crystal ball sees Vanderbilt sending Bob Boyd into retirement and Ole Miss perhaps shipping Don DeVoe north of the Mason-Dixon line, as in Columbus, Ohio.
Thursday, we like Alabama turning back Georgia in perhaps the finest game of the entire tournament. And the second best game could be the other half of the afternoon doubleheader when Florida will slip by LSU in another down to the wire event.
Auburn should romp over Vanderbilt although the Commodores are too smart to get beat badly while Kentucky will have a tougher time against Ole Miss and should prevail by six or eight.
Semi-finals should pit 'Bama against Auburn and Kentucky taking on Florida. Alabama and Auburn have split this season so this one will be bragging rights for the entire summer. Chuck Person has been on a tear lately and while Buck Johnson is a true All-American, Derrick McKey and Terry Coner are no match for Jeff Moore, Chris Moore, Frank Ford and Gerald White. Auburn by six.
Last season, Florida defeated UK two of three times and there was quite a roar from the Gator basketball diehards when the NCAA chose Kentucky for the NCAA tourney instead of the Gators.
Norm Sloan has brought his Gators a long way this season and Florida could beat the Cats on a given night, but Florida has come up empty twice already this year and this one will be three in a row for UK. Kentucky by six.
ChampionshipAuburn versus Kentucky. [Continued On Page 36] Finish 17-1 In SEC
'Cats End Season By Beating Tigers, 68-57
Kentucky wrapped up its regular season in grand style with a 68-57 win against visiting LSU before 23.610 Wildcat partisans and a national-televised audience. The victory capped an unblievable season  26-3 and 17-1 overall.
""I don't think anyone before the season began, in their wildest dreams, would have thought we would have gone through the regular season with a 26-3 record, and a 17-1 record in conference play," Sutton told the media afterwards. "When you go 17-1 in this great conference, you've not only had to be pretty good but also had some good breaks go your way. We've been very fortunate not having any injuries like some of the other ballclubs have had."
Only UK in 1970 and LSU in 1981 recorded 17-1 slates since the 18-game round robin schedule was organized.
Thursday at 9 p.m. Kentucky, the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tourney, will face the winner of Wednesday's Mississippi-Tennessee contest.
On the other hand, LSU, 21-10, will play Florida Thursday.
Kenny Walker's 17 points led the way, but it was Winston Bennett who greatly contributed to a crucial 15-4 Wildcat run to start the second half. The junior scored eight of his 12 points in the first 2:53.
Clawing back mainly on the strength of Anthony Wilson's downtown jumpers, the Tigers pulled withing 54-50 with 8:28 left. Wilson tossed in 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half.
However, James Blackmon hit two timely jumpers, the second over 6-foot-8 John Williams, to push the lead to eight, 58-50.
After a layin by Bennett, referee Paul Galvin helped the Wildcats increase the margin to 12. He accidently got in way of a stray ball as Bennett picked it up near mid-court and dished off to Blackmon. It was the second time in the game that an official had kept the ball from going out of bounds. -And, both times UK converted.
Blackmon in turned smoothly canned an 18-footer. UK led 62-50 with 6:04 remaining.
Despite Turnovers, Poor Rebounding 'Cats Too Powerful
Commiting eight turnovers in each half and only grabbing seven rebounds in the final 20 minutes, Kentucky could have been upset. It wasn't meant to be.
"For some reason it seems like we've been kind of snakebit this year," said Dale Brown as he reflected on the season. "This is another one of the long line of problems we've had. I've got to believe that this will eventually wear out and some breaks will go our way."
Snakebit is right. From the Tito Horford ordeal to Nikita Wilson's academic problems to the chicken pox of two Tiger players, it's been a season of 'what's going to happen next.'
Surely nothing else could happen?
Wanna bet.
Don Redden, who scored 26 points in LSU last outing, was kneed in the hip by Jose Vargas during warmups. Redden did play 16 minutes, but was not effective.
"We played him too long," Brown said. "They scored four transition baskets that probably wouldn't have happened had we not played him. We wanted to take a look at him because we needed him, particularly coming off the 26-point game he had."
"It was just one of the cards dealt to us and you've got to suck it up. Unfortunately it came at a bad time because Don's been playing well."
Still, LSU has more than 20 victories which should qualify Brown's club for the upcoming NCAA tournament.
Brown said for now he would take a "rain check" on the invitation and concentrate on the SEC tournament, which the winner gets an automatic bid.
For a while it looked like LSU might spoil the party thrown for Walker and friends.
Midway through the second half Robert Lock excited the crowd at both ends of the court. He banked one home from close into widen the Wildcat advantage, 50-42. Derrick Taylor then arched a shot which was rejected by the 6-10 reserve. On UK's next series Lock increased the lead to 10 with a six-foot turnaround.
Lock's spurt turned on an already excited crowd. But, Wilson quited things immensely with an 18- and 19-footer followed by a layup. LSU, with 8:51 left, was now back in striking distance, 52-48. Ricky Blanton's follow-up goal, in which the Tigers had four offensive attempts in one series, pulled LSU to within four, 54-50.
Walker's turnaround with 1:45 left ended a 10-5 Wildcat run and all but ended the Tigers' chances.
Kentucky's second-half shooting was the diffenence. While hitting on a medicore 44.4 percent in the first half, the home team connected on 17 of 24 for a blistering 70.8 percent. In the second stanza from the field the stats read like this: Bennett, 5 of 6; Blackmon, 4 of 6; Roger Harden 2 of 3; Walker, 2 of 4; Lock, 2 of 2; Ed Davender 1 of 2; and Todd Ziegler, 1 of 1.
Lock seems to be getting himself in 'tournament' condition. Playing more consistent of late, he scored eight points (3 of 3 from the field) and had two blocked shots in 16 minutes of work.
LSU also warmed the nets in the final 20 minutes, connecting on on 30.3 percent from the floor. The Tigers burned the twine on 16 of 26 for 61.5 percent. Brown's club dominated the boards (33 to 25), including 18 to 9 on the offensive end.
Walker Goes To War Early
Playing hard at both ends, Walker was a dominant figure in the first half. The senior forward scored 12 points grabbed five rebounds (three defense), rejected three shots, and dished out two assists.
From the 2-3, box-and-one and man-to-man, LSU showed Kentucky a multitude of defenses.. It confused the Wildcats early as LSU created many turnovers underneath.
It was a mishandled LSU pass, though, which resulted in a big play for the 'Cats. Harden took the ball and then flicked it behind his back to Blackmon. Blackmon then flipped it to Harden who in turn lobbed the ball near the cylinder for Walker. The 6 forward laid it in to complete the 3-on-l break giving UK a 11-5 lead.
ten
J Later in the half Walker was stripped of the ball underneath and Williams took an alley-oop pass from Derick Taylor. The sophomore sensation slammed it through, which caused a hushed silence in the air.
The basket pulled LSU within 15-11. But, a Bennett offensive board resulting in a Walker field goal helped increase the lead, following a Davender 18-footer.
It was Harden's basket which pushed the lead to 21-13. The all-time single assist leader drilled a jumper from top of the key at the same time Vargas was whistled for pushing Lock. Harden's basket was ruled good and Lock stepped to the line. Lock canned one of two attempts as the lead was now 22-13.
Williams' two free throws late in the half pulled his team within five, 26-21. UK. meanwhile, outscored the Tigers 4-3 in the final 3:10.
Three Tigers  Wilson, Taylor and Williams  each had six points in the first 20 minutes to lead their squad.
The Seniors' Tribute
For UK'