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SEC Basketball Tournament 2015, Semifinals: Kentucky 91, Auburn 67

Auburn played tough, but UK also played tough and with more talent. The ending was inevitable, but the Tigers should keep their heads up

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

What Auburn did during this SEC tournament was very impressive, but today the Tigers ran into a Big Blue buzzsaw while missing two starters and playing their fourth game since Wednesday. The game ended the way America thought it would, but there was no shame in either team's performance with the mild exception of there being 68 combined free throws.

First, let's talk about Auburn. In a season that everyone knew was not going to see a lot of victories, there was quite a bit of excitement in the last month of the season. In March, Auburn lost to Missouri and Georgia by a combined five points, and then rattled off three straight victories in the SEC tournament. A lot of credit goes to seniors KT Harrell and Antoine Mason, who over the course of the season carried Auburn offensively. Credit also belongs to Bruce Pearl. Pearl was emotional at the end of today's game, which should further endear him to Auburn partisans and nonpartisans alike. His incoming recruiting class suggests next year's basketball season will be even better. Bruce Pearl is back, and the SEC is better for his presence.

Kentucky, meanwhile, continues its march to perfection. There are some troubling signs if one chooses to squint: defensive rebounding is still an issue, and allowing dribble penetration has gotten worse in the last few weeks. Nonetheless, UK played impressively today, preventing Auburn from hitting threes, shooting 50 percent from the three-point line themselves, and having five players in double figures. Karl-Anthony Towns was not of them, either. That's right, the potential No. 1 pick in this summer's NBA Draft fouled out with eight points and six rebounds, and UK still won by 24.

Kentucky advances to the SEC tournament final, but Auburn leaves Nashville with their heads high and legitimate reason to be optimistic about next season.