Sixth-seeded Cats open NCAA with Providence

Published 12:25 pm Monday, March 13, 2023


Kentucky Today

Kentucky, seeking its first NCAA Tournament win since 2019, received a No. 6 seed in the East Region on Selection Sunday.

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The Wildcats (21-11) open play in the NCAA tournament against 11th-seeded Providence on Friday at 7:07 p.m. (CBS) in Greensboro, N.C. Kentucky is in the same region as Big 10 regular season and tournament champion Purdue, which garnered a No. 1 seed.

Kentucky will be making a record 60th appearance in the NCAA tournament and marks the second time the Wildcats have received a No. 6 seed. Sixth-seeded Kentucky lost to Middle Tennessee 50-44 in 1982. Kentucky is 48-11 in first-round contests in the tournament and has won 25 of its last 27 opening-round games in the tournament.

The Wildcats are coming off an 80-73 loss to Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament

The Friars (21-11) are 0-3 against Kentucky and dropped a 58-38 loss to the Wildcats in 2014. Former Kentucky forward Bryce Hopkins leads Providence and averages 16.1 points per game. Hopkins played for the Wildcats following his freshman campaign two years ago and entered the transfer portal before this season.

Kentucky is one of eight programs in the SEC that received a bid to the tourney. The others were SEC tournament champion Alabama (No. 1, South), Arkansas (No. 8 West), Mississippi State (No. 11 Midwest), Tennessee (No. 4 East), Auburn (No. 9 Midwest), Missouri (No. 7 South) and Texas A&M (No. 7 Midwest).

Northern Kentucky, which received an automatic bid after winning the Horizon League Tournament last week, is a No. 16 and will take on top-seeded Houston (Midwest Region) on Thursday in Birmingham. The Norse finished the season with a 22-12 record.

Alabama (South), Kansas (West), Houston (Midwest) and Purdue (East) with the No. 1 overall seeds.