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UK eliminates U. from the NCAA tournament again

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kentucky has been unbeatable the last three months. And the Wildcats never lose to Utah at tournament time.

Keith Bogans and Marquis Estill scored 18 points apiece and top-seeded Kentucky cruised into the round of 16 for the ninth time in 11 years, routing Utah 74-54 in the second round of the Midwest Regional.

Kentucky (31-3) stretched its winning streak to 25 games, a run sparked by an 18-point loss to rival Louisville on Dec. 28.

Making the day complete for Wildcat fans, the Cardinals were knocked out of the tournament earlier Sunday, upset by Butler at the East Regional.

It wasn't a shock at all that No. 9 Utah (25-8) had its season end at the hands of Kentucky. The teams were meeting in the tournament for the fifth time in 11 years — the Wildcats have won each time, including a victory in the 1998 national championship game.

That year, the Utes squandered a 10-point halftime lead and lost 78-69. They haven't been close in the other meetings, going down by an average of 21 points.

Kentucky advanced to meet Wisconsin in the regional semifinals at Minneapolis on Thursday. The Wildcats were knocked out in the round of 16 the last two years, but it will take a major upset by the Badgers to make it three in a row.

The Utes had a glimmer of hope when Tim Frost swished a 3-pointer with 10:46 remaining, cutting Kentucky's lead to 51-42.

Ho hum. The Wildcats scored the next 11 points while the Gaylord Entertainment Center rocked with cheers of, "Go Big Blue!"

Without Britton Johnsen, Utah couldn't match up with Kentucky on the inside. The 6-foot-10 senior watched from the bench, sidelined by infectious mononucleosis. The Wildcats dominated the boards, 35-22, and outscored the Utes 38-24 in the paint. Marc Jackson led Utah with 19 points.