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CATS Selected for Record 61st NCAA Tournament

Wildcats have earned the No. 3 seed in the South Region, playing Oakland in first round


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team extended its national record for most NCAA Tournament appearances to 61 on Sunday, as the Wildcats were selected as the No. 3 seed in the South Region. The Wildcats will play Oakland, the region’s No. 14 seed, on Thursday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Game time and television assignment are to be determined.  

This is the fourth time that Kentucky has earned a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and the first time since 1999. That year, Kentucky played New Mexico State in the first round, Kansas in the second round and Miami (Ohio) in the Sweet 16 before losing to Michigan State in the Elite Eight in St. Louis, Missouri. As a 3 seed, Kentucky has a second-round, Sweet 16 and Elite Eight finish.

Kentucky enters the NCAA Tournament with a 23-9 record, marking the 14th time in head coach John Calipari’s 15 seasons that the Wildcats have won 20 or more games. UK finished tied for second in the Southeastern Conference with a 13-5 mark, earning a 2 seed in the 2024 SEC Tournament. Kentucky is coming off a quarterfinal loss to Texas A&M on Friday. 

In addition to most appearances, Kentucky holds the NCAA Tournament records for most games played (184), while it ranks second all-time in NCAA Tournament wins with 130. The Cats own a 130-54 all-time record in NCAA action, with their .707 winning percentage ranking fourth-best in NCAA history (min. 20 games).

Looking ahead to Thursday’s matchup, Kentucky is 49-11 in NCAA Tournament openers and has won 26 of its last 28 opening-round games.

Kentucky is set to play Oakland for the first time in program history although UK is 12-0 all-time vs. teams from the Horizon League. Oakland is coming off a 23-11 regular season, defeating the Nos. 6, 7 and 8 seeds to earn the Horizon League Tournament Championship.

Oakland is averaging 76.4 points per game this season, allowing opponents to score 72.9 points per game. The Grizzlies are shooting 45 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3 on the season. Oakland has a +1.6 rebounding margin and +0.1 turnover margin. Senior forward Terry Townsend leads the team this season averaging 16.8 points per game with 7.8 rebounds per game and a team-best 106 assists. Graduate student guard Blake Lampman is earning 13.2 points per game and 30 steals, while fellow graduate student guard Jack Gohlke has hit 121 3-pointers this season and is earning 12.2 points per game. 

If Kentucky defeats Oakland, the Wildcats will face the winner of No. 6 seed Texas Tech (23-10) and No. 11 seed NC State (22-14) on Saturday. UK leads the all-time series with Texas Tech 5-0 with the two teams yet to meet in NCAA Tournament action. UK and NC State have met four times, with UK holding a 3-1 record in those game. The Wildcats and Wolfpack have also never met in NCAA Tournament play.

Ticket information:

  • Public tickets for the first and second round games in Pittsburgh can be purchased by visiting Fans will find complete ticket information for all NCAA sites, including information on the NCAA Ticket Exchange (, the official secondary marketplace for authentic NCAA Tournament tickets.
  • Kentucky receives a limited allotment of tickets from the NCAA. Eligible K Fund members who requested first and second round tickets in advance of Selection Sunday will receive a confirmation email on Monday evening, March 18 from the UK Ticket Office with information on whether or not their request has been fulfilled.
  • More information about requesting tickets for all possible rounds of the NCAA Tournament is available here and will be updated as Kentucky advances. Those who are eligible to request NCAA tickets will be notified by email from the UK Ticket Office.
  • Student tickets are not available for first and second round games, and information for later rounds will be available at as Kentucky advances.

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