Four Wins In Four Days, UK Quest For SEC Tourney Title Begins With MSU
Four wins in four days. That’s what the Kentucky Wildcats will need in order to defy the sizable odds in their bid to win the SEC Tournament. That quest starts Thursday at noon against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, a team they beat in double overtime in Starkville back in January. For our special tournament edition of the Scouting Report we turn to Keith Elkins, he’s a long-time member of the UK Sports network and the host of the WUKY SportsPage podcast.
From UK Athletics:
The task that Kentucky faces in this week's SEC Tournament is clear. To make the NCAA Tournament, the Cats will need to win four games in a row to claim the title and the league's automatic bid.
That task starts on Thursday when Kentucky faces Mississippi State for the second time this season. On Jan. 2, the Cats won in Starkville 78-73 in double overtime.
Kentucky has had amazing success in the SEC Tournament over the year. UK has won the event 31 times, while the rest of the league, combined, has won it 28 times. However, the Cats have not won four games in a row in the SEC Tournament since 1952.
On Tuesday, sophomore forward Keion Brooks Jr. and senior forward Olivier Sarr spoke about how they both understand what's ahead of the Cats this week.
"We've just got to be ready for war every single time we step out on that court," Brooks said. "We know what position we're in and we know what we have to do to get it done. It's not going to be easy. We know it's going to be difficult. But our coaching staff has put together game plans to help us succeed and help us be the best on the court. We have to go out there and execute, go out there, and fight and go out there and give it all we've got."
Sarr understands that it's all about the bottom line.
"I don't think we care about being realistic or anything. We just care about winning games, and we're going to have to win games," Sarr said. "That's all it is. That's the only way we have, and that's the only way we're thinking. We're not thinking about–it's not about a dream or reality or whatever. It is what it is. So, we're going to go out there game by game and take it one game at a time and then we'll see."
Brooks thinks that the formula for winning four games in a row in the SEC Tournament is simple.
"It comes down to, did we fight or not?," Brooks said. "Four games in four days is tough. If you want to do that, you've got to go out there and fight every single possession of every single game. If we do that, we've got a really good chance of, like you said, be dancing in that confetti when it's all over."
Kentucky has not won four games in a row all season but Sarr has reason to believe the Cats can do that this week in Nashville.
"Because we've shown that we had all of these teams, you know, really close," Sarr said. "Either we won or we lost by less than five points or something like that. So, I think it's something that like you said, we haven't done yet, but we've showed that we're the team that can do it. So, we all believe in ourselves."
Coming off a 92-64 win over South Carolina on Saturday, the Cats are feeling good heading into this week's event, according to Sarr.
"Just the way we played, the intensity, the way we shared the ball, the way we had fun," Sarr said. "The way we had fun and enjoyed playing, and just how everybody competed and how we played together as a team."
Playing as a team will be key for the Cats this week if they are to win four in a row in Nashville. It's a task that Brooks and Sarr think UK can accomplish.