NCAA Men's Tournament set - click inside for bracket

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Top-ranked Kentucky drew the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament on Sunday despite a surprising loss in the SEC tournament championship.

The Wildcats (32-2) don't know who they'll face next.

That will be decided when a pair of 16 seeds - Mississippi Valley State and Western Kentucky - duke it out in Dayton, Ohio as part of the four first-round games.

For now, Kentucky is focusing on itself after Sunday's surprising setback in New Orleans, which hosted the Southeastern Conference tournament and the site of this year's Final Four.

Freshmen Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the rest of John Calipari's talented squad squandered a seven-point lead late in a 71-64 loss to Vanderbilt earlier Sunday.

The South regional is fraught with tough opponents from the Wildcats' past and present.

Kentucky, which locked up its 11th No. 1 seed in its history, will head 75 miles west to Louisville to start its NCAA tournament against either an in-state school in the Hilltoppers or Mississippi Valley State, led by former Kentucky player Sean Woods, on Thursday.

If the Wildcats get past that first game as expected, either Iowa State or defending national champion Connecticut awaits them.

The other teams in the regional in order of seeding are Duke, Baylor, Indiana, Wichita State, UNLV, Notre Dame, Iowa State, Connecticut, Xavier, Colorado, VCU, New Mexico State, South Dakota State, Lehigh and the two 16s.

The Hoosiers were the only team to beat Kentucky before Sunday. Also potentially haunting the Wildcats in their bracket is the 20th anniversary of The Shot by Christian Laettner that lifted the Blue Devils over the Wildcats in overtime of the 1992 East Regional finals. Woods' basket in '92 gave the Wildcats a one-point lead with 2.1 seconds left that set up the epic finale.

None of Calipari's third straight No. 1 recruiting class had been born when that game was played and this Kentucky group is a favorite to make a run at a trip to the national title game though they lost Sunday in the SEC championship to Vanderbilt.

"It'll get us more focused now. Now we know how it feels to lose. We didn't lose in a long time," guard Doron Lamb said. "Now we know how it feels and we don't like this feeling so we're going to try to win these next six games."

Beyond the freshmen class of Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer, the Wildcats also returned sophomores Terrence Jones and Lamb along with senior Darius Miller. All seven are eventually expected to play in the NBA, and all but Wiltjer may check their draft stock when this season ends.

Kentucky reached the Final Four for the 14th time last year, falling to eventual champion Connecticut in the national semifinals. This group is in the best position to break the school's 13-year title drought and bring home the eighth crown in Kentucky's illustrious history.

Before Sunday, the Wildcats only other loss came on Dec. 10 against Indiana, but the Vanderbilt loss may have also put history on Kentucky's side in the process.

No team with a winning streak as long as the 24-game run the Wildcats had coming into the NCAA tournament had ever won the title since Indiana's perfect season in 1976. Even Sunday's loss that ended that streak brings a possible omen.

The only other time the Wildcats lost the SEC title game to Vanderbilt, they went on to win the national title in 1951.

"Our confidence is still here," Davis said.

Kentucky ran roughshod over the Southeastern Conference by going 16-0 with the nation's stingiest defense by field goal percentage and by leading the NCAA in blocked shots.

Only three teams since 1956 have finished the SEC with perfect regular-season league records -- Kentucky did it in 1996 and `03. The `96 team under Rick Pitino that was dubbed "The Untouchables" went on to win the national championship with nine future NBA players, including six first-round picks.

The `03 group is considered one of the greatest Kentucky teams to fail to win a title. Dewyane Wade and Marquette upset Kentucky in the regional finals that kept the `Cats from going to the Final Four -- in New Orleans.

Kentucky is one of the top teams in the nation but it remains to be seen if the Wildcats can pull out a close game late. They squandered a 62-55 lead with 5:23 left against Vanderbilt by missing nine straight shots.

The collapse against the Commodores provides at least a temporary pause for fans filling out the final line of their brackets.

"It makes us more hungry and we want to go harder just taking an L like this," Jones said. "I think it's going to make us go back to just playing hungrier."

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AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this report.


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