When the bracket for the 2017 NCAA Tournament came out, one potential second-round matchup that everyone wanted to see was in the South Region between 2nd-seeded Kentucky vs. 10th-seeded Wichita State. While everyone almost universally agreed that the Shockers were horribly underseeded, the rematch from the 2014 NCAA Tournament that pitted the top-seeded Wichita State against 8th-seeded Kentucky had everyone salivating.
That game was a classic which saw the Wildcats come out on top. While it remains to be seen whether history will consider this game as good as the 2014 matchup, it was still great, and in the end, Kentucky eked out a close win, 65-62.
The story of this game will probably be the late game execution from the Shockers, which left a lot to be desired, partly because Kentucky’s defense was locked in. On its second-to-last possession, Wichita State passed the ball around kind of aimlessly, and a Markis McDuffie three was blocked by Malik Monk. The ball landed in Monk’s hands, he was fouled, and the potential lottery pick drilled two free throws to put the Wildcats up by three.
Still, the Shockers had 10 seconds and one final chance to send the game to overtime. The ball was in the hands of Landry Shamet – a freshman guard who played out of his mind down the stretch – but the Wildcat defense was smothering.