Final: Kentucky 100, ETSU 71

NEW ORLEANS -- Kentucky at its best is a scary proposition for any team in the country.

But an outmanned East Tennessee State team never had a chance.

The No. 1 seed Wildcats put on a show Thursday night with a 100-71 pasting of the Buccaneers in the first round of the East Regional at New Orleans Arena.

For a team that had virtually no NCAA tournament experience coming into the game, Kentucky and its band of freshmen looked like old pros and were never threatened.

The Wildcats (33-2) will move into the second round to face Wake Forest.

Kentucky played a bunch of players and shot lights out from 3-point range. They finished 15-of-33. Freshman Eric Bledsoe was 8-of-9 from behind the arc and scored a career-high 29 points.

At times, the Wildcats have tended to turn it off and on this season because they’re so talented. But they were wide open Thursday from the outset and showed no signs of any tournament jitters.

The bottom line: If they continue to play like this and shoot like this -- with their size, athleticism and talent -- their first Final Four trip since 1998 looks more and more like a lock.