FADOOL: Cats get ready to rumble in "Cat-lanta"

As the Cats prepare for the 46th Southeastern Conference Tournament this weekend in Atlanta, let's take a look at what's at stake for winning the conference title.

As the Cats prepare for the 46th Southeastern Conference Tournament this weekend in Atlanta, let's take a look at what's at stake for winning the conference title. Yes, it's an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament, but that's not really in question for the Cats. And since UK will be no worse than a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament, what's the big deal with winning the SEC tournament?

So with the Cats taking their 43rd regular season title this year, does a 26th conference championship really mean as much to UK?

The Cats say ‘you bet', especially in garnering that all-important momentum.

"The conference tournament championship is important because we just are coming off a loss in the Florida game. And in the SEC tournament, we get a chance to redeem ourselves and get momentum going into the NCAA tournament," says Senior Forward Chuck Hayes.

Junior Guard Patrick Sparks adds, "Yea, it's still a big deal. You know it gets us ready for the NCAA tournament so you definitely want to be on a roll going in to that."

Some may say winning the SEC regular season is a bigger honor than the conference tournament title. In order be crowned the season champs, it takes consistency, tenacity and longevity. You have to prove yourself week in and week out, over a period of at least two months. For the conference tournament title, your team needs to put together two or three good games in about a week and maybe have a little luck.

I guess it just could be Kentucky's mentality of being so good for so long, that winning the SEC tournament title is almost expected. The Cats have more conference tournament titles than all the other SEC schools combined. UK leads the way with 25. Alabama is distant second with six, while Tennessee has four and Mississippi State has two tournament trophies. Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and former league member Georgia Tech all have one tourney title.

But the players say the tourney crown is just as significant.

"You know, winning the SEC tournament is a huge accomplishment. It comes old habit almost at Kentucky but it's a big deal and we're really taking it serious and going down there with a business mentality," says Sparks.

So we will see on Friday and possibly Sunday if the Cats can take care of business and capture that important "mo" and ride it on into the NCAA tournament.


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