Monday, February 28, 2005

One Weekend, Two Conference Titles

It was a conference title clinching weekend for both the Wildcats and the Illini.

On Saturday, the Cats took it to the SEC West-leading Crimson Tide of Alabama. Down 14 with 3 minutes to go in the first half (33-19), the Cats rallied to cut the deficit in half by halftime. In the second half, Patrick Sparks drilled the Tide to the tune of 20 points and the Cats won by seven. The win clinched UK's 43rd SEC title (the rest of the conference has a combined 42) to go along with the 6th straight SEC East title clinched earlier in the week.

On Sunday, the top-ranked Illini put down their Playstation handsets long enough to receive the news that they, too, had clinched a conference title. This one was a second-straight outright Big Ten title for Bruce Weber and the boys and came courtesy of a Michigan State loss in Bloomington. It represented the first back-to-back outright for the Illini since Red Kerr patrolled the narrow lanes at Huff Gym. The Illini had hoped to win it for themselves Thursday, but the Spartans couldn't oblige by beating the Hoosiers. All that remains for the Illini in the regular season is to win out this week and nail down an undefeated conference slate.


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