LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky's inconsistent play this year has left the Wildcats without a chance to defend their national championship.
There was a no at-large NCAA tournament bid for the young Kentucky squad that could not overcome injuries, sporadic guard play and a lack of leadership.
A 16-point loss in Friday's must-win game in the Southeastern Conference tournament against Vanderbilt a few miles from the Commodores' Nashville campus sealed the fate of the Wildcats, who were left out of the 68-team field.
Kentucky (21-11) becomes the 20th national champion to miss the tournament the following season, according to Stats LLC.
That reality set in Sunday for the Wildcats, who hoped they had done enough to get a tournament invitation but knew they could be left watching by leaving it to the selection committee.