Late block helps Kentucky over Wichita, back to Sweet 16

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

- Kentucky advanced to the second round with a 79-70 Friday victory against Northern Kentucky, the 24th time in its past 25 NCAA tournament appearances that it has won its opening-round game.

Whether it be by desire or because there weren't many stoppages in the action during the first half, United Kingdom played an extended stretch with none of it's freshman on the floor. "I know that we have the heart of a champion".

Malik Monk was the nail in the coffin on Wichita State's second-to-last possession, with the Shockers down by one as the final minute of the game ticked down. Now Kentucky owns that distinction thanks to 13 consecutive victories. Bump the Wildcats forward in your NCAA Tournament bracket into the Sweet Sixteen.

This year, the NCAA slighted a very strong Wichita State team with a 10 seed, opposite Kentucky's 2 seed, and placed these two programs onto a collision course. "I guess it didn't make anyone else upset when she told Malik Monk to get in the weight room or told Isaiah Briscoe to buy some bigger shorts or told Calipari to "shut the f-ck up" or told Roger Ayers he is garbage or any of the other classy things she yelled between F-bombs". It was only his second win in five games against Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

Justin Jackson added 15 points for the Tar Heels (29-7), including the dunk that capped a game-closing 12-0 run by the South Region's No. 1 seed. His biggest play though, unusual as it may seem, came on defense. Bam Adebayo also had a key block as time ran out on what would have been a game-tying three-point attempt.

Daryl Macon scored 19 points to lead the eighth-seeded Razorbacks (26-10), who did everything right in the second half - except close out the Tar Heels.

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And when Jaylen Barford scored in transition off a turnover, Arkansas led 65-60 with 3:28 left.

He had only played three games. 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.

Then came Meeks' big moment. They shot well from the outside, and they played tough defense under coach Gregg Marshall.

Meeks, battling for position with Moses Kingsley inside in the paint, tapped it up and in to push the Tar Heels to the 68-65 lead. Off a broken down offensive set with Shamet firing from deep late in the shot-clock, Rashard Kelly pulled in the rebound and found Zach Brown for an open 3-pointer.

Two more games.two tense fanbases in Kansas today. In 2014, Kentucky knocked off the top-seeded Shockers 78-76 when Fred VanVleet's three-pointer bounced off the rim in St. Louis.

Kentucky moves on to the Sweet 16 to play on Friday in Memphis, hoping the birthplace of Rock n' Roll gives Kentucky a berth to the Elite Eight, and possibly the Final Four and beyond.

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