AP Player of the Year Anthony Davis had a monstrous 18 points 14 rebounds 5 blocks performance to lead the loaded Kentucky Wildcats to a 69-61 win over Louisville in their Final 4 match-up. The win brings the school back to the NCAA title game after a 14 year wait. Coach John Calipari will have another shot of a title that has eluded him in his illustrious coaching career.
Guards Darius Miller and Doron Lamb had 13 and 10 points respectively to support Davis. Kentucky only scored 69 points their lowest output in this year’s NCAA tournament. Their second lowest score was 81 in their first tournament match against Western Kentucky. It was also their first win in single digits in the tournament. The Cardinals even tied the match at 49 with 9:13 to go. The Wildcats were only up by 5, 63-58, with 1:23 to go. They held on and they beat the team that was coached by the last title winning Wildcats team in Rick Pitino. Gorgui Deng played the whole game for the Cardinals and finished with 7 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.
Tyshawn Taylor made two pressure packed free throws with 7 seconds left in the game to catapult back to the title game which they last won in 2008. Tomas Robinson finished 19 points and 8 rebounds. His Ohio State counterpart Jared Sullinger had 13 points and 11 rebounds but he only made 5 of 19 shot attempts.
The loss was a heartbreaker for the Buckeyes as they controlled the game in the first half and even leading in double figures several times in the half. The first half ended 34-25 in favor of Ohio State. Kansas started the second half with 13-4 run to tie game at 38-all. The Buckeyes responded with an 8-2 run but the Jayhawks will not be denied as they took a 62-59 lead with a 1:08 left. Taylor then did the rest.
John Calipari will be facing Bill Self and Kansas once again. Calipari lost the 2008 finals to the Jaywalks while he was still coaching Memphis that blew a 9 point lead only to lose the championship. Will it be de ja vu or will be sweet revenge?
Road to Finals
Kansas won over:
No.15 Detroit 65-50
No.10 Purdue 63-60
No.11 North Carolina St. 60-57
No.1 North Carolina 80-67
No.2 Ohio State 64-62
entucky won over:
No.16 Western Kentucky 81-66
No. 8 Iowa St. 87-71
No.4 Indiana 104-90
No.3 Baylor 82-70
No.4 Louisville 69-61
(2) Kentucky 75 – 65 (11) Kansas (November 15, 2011 Madison Square Garden, NY)
Kentucky won the State Farm Champions Classic with Doron Lamb, Terence Jones, and Anthony Davis combined 46 points as they pulled away from a 28-all first half to hand the Jayhawks its first loss of the season. Tyshawn Taylor had 22 points to pace Kansas.
It is a game between two of the winningest schools in the NCAA history. Kansas won in 1922, 1923, 1952, 1988, and 2008. Kentucky won in 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, and 1998 . Kentucky has won 20 of the 26 meetings between the two programs. In their last tournament meeting, Kansas won 88-71 in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. It was the last game for UK coach Tubby Smith (coach of the 1998 champion team).
The match-up has a lot of history and even some sort of bad blood. It will definitely be one of the most watched college games in recent history. The game will feature several future NBA lottery picks and some of the best big men in college this year. It is expected to be a close game and the one who will in the last 5 minutes of the game will be crowned as the 2012 champions. Prediction 70-67 for Kansas 😉
- March Madness 2012: Final 4 Preview (caloysports.wordpress.com)
- Final Four 2012: All-Time Tournament Records Between Remaining Teams (sbnation.com)
- Kentucky Wildcats Roll to NCAA Final Four (bleacherreport.com)
- Kansas survives Ohio State (ESPN)
- Antony Davis leads Kentucky to the finals (ESPN)