Kentucky made a statement by making a season-best 15 3-pointers in its final game of the season at Rupp Arena, hitting six in a row at one point in the second half of a romp over Georgia that extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 52 games.
Miller, the only Kentucky player or coach on the bench for all 52 of those wins, hit five 3s and finished with 17 points in his home finale. The Wildcats were 15 for 27 from beyond the arc.
Kentucky doubled up Georgia 42-21 just over a minute into the second half and led the Bulldogs, who shot just 33.9 percent, by as many as 41 points in the closing minutes.
The fans gave several rowdy ovations to Miller, the only Kentucky player or coach who has been part of all 52 consecutive home wins, and he and Vargas were given senior-night stars. Vargas had two points and five rebounds in a season-high 16 minutes.
Kentucky 74, Florida 59
March 4 at Gainesville, Fla.
The Wildcats became just the third team since 1956 to go undefeated in SEC play, joining Kentucky teams from 1996 and 2003 by finishing 16-0 in the league — which they won by six games — and setting a school record for regular-season wins (30) by beating Florida.
Davis had 22 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks and Jones added 19 points for Kentucky, which shot 53 percent from the field and scored 40 points in the paint.
The Wildcats took a 28-16 lead in the first half, often abusing the Gators in one-on-one situations. They used an 8-0 run in the second half to stretch their lead to double digits, then added a 9-0 run later to put the game out of reach.
Florida cut Kentucky's lead to 46-44 with about 16 minutes remaining but got no closer and had just one basket in the final 9:02.
Kentucky 60, LSU 51
March 9 at New Orleans
Kentucky labored through an 18-turnover performance in its SEC tournament opener in which the Wildcats trailed early in the second half and never led by more than nine points.
Kidd-Gilchrist helped them overcome their early lethargy, scoring 19 of his 19 points in the first half before his teammates came alive in the second half.
The Wildcats did hold LSU to 29.4 percent shooting from the field, but the Tigers led early in the second half after an 11-2 run. Kentucky took the lead for good at 37-35 and never appeared seriously threatened during the final 5 minutes.
Davis scored 11 points in the second half and finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Jones had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Kentucky doubled its season average with 18 turnovers.
Kentucky 74, Florida 71
March 10 at New Orleans
The Wildcats withstood Florida's best shot to advance to the finals. The Gators shot 48 percent and went 11 for 22 from 3-point range, but Kentucky shot 45 percent from the field and outrebounded them 39-25.
Davis had 15 points and 12 rebounds, Jones had 15 points and nine rebounds, Lamb scored 16 points and Teague had 15. Lamb and Teague each hit two key free throws in the last 15 seconds to secure the win.
Florida led 56-51 with 10:43 to play, but Kentucky used a 14-0 run to surge in front 65-56, holding the Gators scoreless for more than 6 minutes.
The Gators later scored seven straight points to pull within 65-63, but the Wildcats held on to beat them for the third time this season.
Vanderbilt 71, Kentucky 64
March 11 at New Orleans
Kentucky didn't get a field goal in the final 8:04 and shot just 35.9 percent, and its 24-game winning streak ended with an SEC title-game loss to a Vanderbilt team it had beaten twice previously.
The Commodores, who won their first SEC tournament title since 1951, used a suffocating defense to hand the Wildcats their first loss since their last-second loss at Indiana on Dec. 10.
Vanderbilt led 26-18 in the first half before Kentucky rallied to tie the game at halftime, The Wildcats led 54-49 after two powerful dunks by Jones, but they went 0 for 14 from the field after a dunk by Miller with 8:04 left. The Commodores took the lead for good with under 2 minutes left.
Miller made an unexpected start and scored 16 points to lead the Wildcats. Jones and Davis had 12 each, and Davis also had 10 rebounds but got into early foul trouble.
NCAA South Regional
Kentucky 81, Western Kentucky 66
March 15 at Louisville
Named the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats overwhelmed No. 16 seed Western Kentucky, which had played its first-round game two nights earlier and one state away.
Jones had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Lamb scored 16 points for Kentucky, which was never seriously threatened. The Wildcats led 45-26 at halftime after the Hilltoppers went the final 4:33 of the first half without a field goal.
Davis had 16 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks for Kentucky, which shot 55.6 percent from the field. WKU cut into a large deficit late in the game, but the game had long since been decided.
According to NCAA records, it was the 500th win of Calipari's career. His on-court record stood at 542-154, including 42 wins vacated by the NCAA.
Kentucky 87, Iowa State 71
March 17 at Louisville
Teague scored a career-high 24 points and Kentucky used a dominating second-half run to push aside eighth-seeded Iowa State in the third round.
Davis had 15 points and 12 rebounds, Miller added 19 points and Lamb had 16 for the Wildcats, who outscored the Cyclones 20-2 during their decisive run.
Iowa State had rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to tie the game at 42-all with 16:23 left, but Kentucky scored six straight points, then another 14 in a row after two free throws by the Cyclones to take a 62-42 lead.
Kentucky led by as many as 24 points down the stretch and shot 55.4 percent.
Kentucky 102, Indiana 90
March 23 at Atlanta
The Wildcats had too many weapons for fourth-seeded Indiana, as they rolled into the regional final by dispatching the team that handed them their first loss back in December.
Kidd-Gilchrist had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Lamb had 21 and three of their teammates also scored in double figures.
Watford, whose buzzer-beater gave Indiana its win over Kentucky, scored 27 points but couldn’t help the Hoosiers keep pace with the Wildcats, who took a 50-47 halftime lead and never surrendered the lead in the second half.
Miller added 19 points for Kentucky, which was 35 for 37 at the free-throw line compared to 13 of 17 for Indiana. The Hoosiers shot 52.2 percent from the field; the Wildcats shot 48.4 percent.
Kentucky 82, Baylor 70
March 25 at Atlanta
Kentucky dominated Baylor to advance to the Final Four for the second straight year and the 15th time overall, taking a 42-22 halftime lead and never allowing the Bears to get closer than 10 points in the second half.
Kidd-Gilchrist scored 19 points, Davis added 18 points and 11 rebounds and Jones had nine rebounds, six assists and three blocks.
The Wildcats took control of the game with 16 straight points after falling behind 10-5, dominating on defense and getting easy baskets.
They shot 53.3 percent from the field and went to the free-throw line 44 times, making 30 shots.
NCAA Final Four
Kentucky 69, Louisville 61
March 31 at New Orleans
The Wildcats had to beat their biggest rival to earn their 11th trip to the national title game, and they had to go deep into the second half to grind out their second win over Louisville this season.
Kentucky shot 57 percent from the field, led by Davis, who went 7 for 8 and finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. Miller added 13 points, and Lamb had 10.
Kentucky used its size advantage to push the Cardinals around on its way to a 13-point lead early in the second half, but Louisville would not fold. Russ Smith made back-to-back 3-points to start a 15-3 run, and Peyton Siva capped it with a long 3 that tied the game at 49-all with 9:11 to play.
Kidd-Gilchrist, held to 23 minutes due to foul trouble, made consecutive baskets to give the Wildcats some breathing room, and after two Louisville free throws, Jones scored on a jumper and Miller drilled a 3 — only Kentucky’s second of the game — to give them control for good.
The Cardinals outrebounded Kentucky 40-33 and had 19 offensive rebounds, which is why they were able to make a game of the fourth NCAA tournament game between the archrivals.
Kentucky 67, Kansas 59
April 2 at New Orleans
Kentucky won its eighth national championship and its first since 1998 by building an 18-point lead in the first half, then holding off Kansas down the stretch.
Lamb led the Wildcats with 22 points and hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the second half to shut down one of the Jayhawks’ many rallied. Teague had 14 points, Kidd-Gilchrist scored all of his points in the first half and Jones added nine points and seven rebounds.
Davis and Jones harassed Kansas All-American Thomas Robinson all night long. Robinson finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds on 6-of-17 shooting, though he was huge in the second half when the Jayhawks rallied.
Early in the second half, Davis knocked the ball out of Robinson’s hands and directly to Jones, who dunked to give Kentucky a 46-30 lead. Later, Jones sank a 15-foot jumper from the baseline to put the Wildcats up 59-44 with 5:13 left.
Kansas trimmed Kentucky’s lead to five points with 1:37 left, but the Wildcats made five free throws down the stretch to seal their second win of the season over the Jayhawks, whom they lead 2,090-2,070 at the top of the list of the winningest programs in Division I.
The Wildcats prevailed despite shooting 41.1 percent from the field — they held Kansas to 35.5 percent — and despite a poor shooting night from Davis, who was 1 for 10.
The freshman center still might have had the most dominating six-point night in the history of college basketball, as he was named the tournament’s most outstanding player after finishing with 16 rebounds, six blocked shot, five assists and three steals.
Davis broke the NCAA freshman blocked shots record, finishing with 186 to surpass the previous mark of 182 set two years ago by Marshall’s Hassan White. And Miller, who had two of the Wildcats’ 11 blocks, set a school record for most games played, appearing in his 152nd game, one more than Wayne Turner played in from 1995-99.
Kentucky also set the NCAA record for most wins in a single season (38), matching win total Calipari’s Memphis team in 2007-08, which was later stripped of those wins by the NCAA.
Less than 18 hours later, Calipari and the Wildcats watched as their championship banner was unfurled before some 20,000 fans at Rupp Arena during a victory celebration.
Season Statistical Leaders
Scoring: Davis 14.2, Lamb 13.7, Jones 12.3.
Rebounding: Davis 10.4, Kidd-Gilchrist 7.4, Jones 7.2.
Assists: Teague 4.8, Miller 2.1, Kidd-Gilchrist 1.9.
Blocked Shots: Davis 4.7, Jones 1.8, Kidd-Gilchrist 0.9.
Steals: Davis 1.4, Jones 1.3, Kidd-Gilchrist 1.0.
Field-goal percentage: Davis .623, Jones .500, Kidd-Gilchrist .491.
3-point percentage: Lamb .466, Wiltjer .432, Miller .376.
Free-throw percentage: Lamb .826, Wiltjer .815, Miller .797.