Kentucky’s Sweet 16 drought continues after loss to K-State

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The Sweet 16 drought for the Kentucky Wildcats continues. 

On Sunday, another set of Wildcats—Kansas State—sent Kentucky packing, winning a highly contested matchup in the NCAA Tournament second round, 75-69. 

Kentucky misses out on the Sweet 16 for the third straight season under head coach John Calipari. The dubious streak is the second longest for the Wildcats in tournament history. Kentucky failed to reach the Sweet 16 in four-straight seasons from 2006 to 2009. 

Meanwhile, Kansas State is headed to the regional semifinal for the first time since 2018. Markquis Nowell led the way for K-State, scoring 23 of his team-high 27 points in the second half Sunday afternoon. 

After tallying only four first-half points, Nowell noticed Kentucky’s defense began to play him more passively after halftime. Given more room, Nowell decided to attack. 

“I figured that I’ll go down here, be aggressive, look for my own shot,” Powell said via McKenzie Nelson of KSHB 41 News. “Once it started falling, I got into rhythm.” 

In a real back-and-forth battle, Powell hit two massive three-pointers late in the second half to help the Wildcats keep pace with Kentucky. With 2:19 left, Powell assisted on a massive Ismael Massoud three, which put K-State up, 64-62, giving them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. 

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