SEC Tournament history: UK as a 4-seed

The 1985 4-seeded UK basketball team was coached by Joe B. Hall. 

With its loss to Florida on Saturday and Missouri’s subsequent win over Arkansas, UK basketball enters nearly uncharted territory.

For the second time since 1985, the team is the fourth overall seed in the SEC Tournament.

That year, under legendary head coach Joe B. Hall, the Cats finished 18-13 on the year, and 11-7 in conference play. Their largest loss of the year was to Tennessee, falling 65-81 in January. They were eliminated in their first game of the SEC Tournament against Florida.

The team was led by junior forward Kenny Walker, who averaged a double-double at 22.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. He won SEC Player of the Year for his efforts, a feat he would repeat his senior year. No other Cat averaged 10 or more points.

Despite their hardships in the regular season, the 12-seed Cats actually had an extremely successful NCAA Tournament. They defeated 5-seed Washington in the first round and 4-seed UNLV in the second. They were eliminated in the Sweet 16 by 1-seed St. Johns.

The second time the Cats were a 4-seed was 1987, under head coach Eddie Sutton. The Cats finished 18-11 and 10-8 in conference play. Point guard Rex Chapman led the team with 16 points per game and 3.6 assists.

The team was eliminated in their first SEC Tournament game against Auburn, and also lost their first NCAA Tournament game against Ohio State by 14 points.

A 4-seed has never won the SEC championship. In the 19 seasons in which the SEC Tournament has had overall seeing, the 4-seed has won a combined six games. No 4-seed has won more than one game in the tournament. Often, the 4-seed has been eliminated in its first game of the postseason.

If the Cats win their first game against Georgia, Vanderbilt or Missouri, it’ll be the first time they’ve won an SEC Tournament game as a 4-seed. UK is currently 0-2 as a 4-seed, so a win would be uncharted territory for the program.

The team’s third-ever game as a 4-seed will take place on Friday, March 9, after Auburn takes on either Texas A&M or Alabama.