BOZICH | Kentucky reduces its magic number to seven, dusting Aub - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Kentucky reduces its magic number to seven, dusting Auburn

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WDRB) – Keep your history books open, class. Kentucky continued it assault on Southeastern Conference greatness Saturday.

Auburn was listed as a 23 ½-point underdog against UK when the wise guys in Las Vegas believed that that Cinmeon Bowers, the Tigers' best all-around player, would be available.

He wasn't. Auburn benched him because of possible rules violation minutes before the game. The party was on. The Wildcats ripped Auburn, 91-67, Saturday in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena. The margin was the second-largest semifinal victory since the tournament resumed in 1979.

The victory reduced the Wildcats' magic number to seven – seven more victories to finish a perfect 40-0 season (and win the school's ninth NCAA title).

Willie Cauley-Stein's, UK's junior center, led the way with 18 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Guard Andrew Harrison scored 15, making a pair of three-point shots.

Three other UK players – Devin Booker, Aaron Harrison and Trey Lyles – scored 12.

The Wildcats have won their two SEC tournament games by an average of 19.5 points. With one game to go, that number ranks fifth among the largest victory margins a team has put together since this event was resumed in 1979.

*Here's a list of the five teams that been the most overpowering winners since the SEC Tournament was resumed in 1979:

1. Kentucky, 1993. The Jamal Mashburn Wildcats rolled to three victories in Rupp Arena by an average margin of 29.7 points, although that number was skewed by a 61-point victory over Tennessee in their opening game.

2. Kentucky, 1997. Rick Pitino's final UK team was probably the most consistently dominant team over a weekend. Not only was their winning margin 29, but also the Wildcats won each game by at least 18.

3. Kentucky, 1998. Before Tubby Smith's team won the national title in San Antonio the Wildcats danced to the SEC title in the Georgia Dome, winning their three games by an average of 22, including a 30-point victory over South Carolina in the championship game.

4. Florida, 2007. Another NCAA champion. The Gators, led by Joakim Noah, Al Horford and friends, ripped Georgia, Ole Miss and Arkansas in Atlanta by an average margin of 19.7.

5. Kentucky, 1992. The Unforgettables weren't quite able to get past Duke, but they did take care of business in Birmingham, dispatching Vanderbilt, Louisiana State and Alabama by an average margin of 17. And, yes, Shaquille O'Neal played for that LSU squad.

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