SEC Championship game set: UK to face Arkansas on Sunday

Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe blows past the Arkansas defender during the second half of the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Rupp Arena on Saturday, January 7, 2017 in Lexington, KY. Photo by Addison Coffey | Staff.

Chris Angolia

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Looking to win its third straight SEC Tournament title, UK will have to take down the Arkansas Razorbacks in order to do so. The Razorbacks dominated the Vanderbilt Commodores in the second semifinal 76-62 on Saturday afternoon.

This year’s Cats are trying to make it three straight SEC Tournament titles, and if able to do so, it would be the first time under coach John Calipari that his team has won three straight tournament crowns. It would also be the first time since 1997-99 that UK has won three straight SEC Tournaments.

However, the Razorbacks will be fresh off a beat-down of a Vanderbilt team that had won seven of its last eight games.

In the first and only meeting between UK and the Razorbacks, much was made about Arkansas native Malik Monk facing his hometown team that he decided against attending. With all of the talk surrounding Monk, De’Aaron Fox scored 27 points to lead the Cats to a 97-71 victory at Rupp Arena back in January.

Monk struggled some in that game, and has been uncharacteristic of late, but despite his struggles UK has won 10 straight and looks to be rounding into form at the right time. However, when it comes to UK-Arkansas on Sunday, the elephant in the room for everyone but Monk will remain the same with the Cats facing his home-states team.

“Every team is the same,” Monk said. “We are really not worried about any team. We are just focused on what Kentucky has to do and what we have to do to win.”

A win all but guarantee’s the Cats a two seed and keeps them in the hunt for a possible one seed if things go awry across the country. But nonetheless, a UK three-peat in the SEC tournament for the first time since 97-99 would have the Cats playing their best basketball at the right time.