Kentucky Pull Off a Close One in the Big Easy
Kentucky faced a very talented Kansas team which consisted on Naismith runner up, Thomas Robinson, but unfortunately there was to be no madness tonight, as the underdog Jayhawks fell short. Kansas put up a valiant effort after being down fourteen at the half and brought it within six in the dying moments, but the Wildcats were too much on this night.
Kentucky came into this tournament as the number one overall seed and the heavy favorite to win the tournament. And that they did. Without having a single scare, the Wildcats dominated every game winning its first four by at least twelve. In the Final four, Louisville made a late push, however Kentucky shut them down with back to back slams by Davis on the fast break.
Tonight was no different. Kansas was never in this game from the start as the young wildcats stormed out of the gates and at one point were up 18. Even with the player of the year, Anthony Davis, struggling to hit shots throughout the course of the game, he was a huge part of the win from the defensive end. The big man grabbed sixteen rebounds, dished out five assists, got three steals and had an out of this world six blocks! But if their main man wasn’t scoring, where was all of this offense coming from? Well, that’s the thing with Kentucky. They have six players that can put a team to rest. Tonight, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb, and Marquis Teague came up huge combining for 47 of the Wildcats 67 total points.
However, not all credit should be given to the players. The coach, and future basketball hall of famer, John Calipari played a huge role in winning his first championship. He set this young team straight and made sure they focused and that they all had the same goal on day one. Coach Cal did a lot, he made sure that his starting five, consisting of 3 freshmen and 2 sophomores worked together and played for the team and not to have the spotlight. Although they did get a lot of light shawn upon them, they shared it together. Along with senior Darius Miller who came off of the bench as the sixth man and provided veteran leadership, the young cats succeeded and won this championship for the University of Kentucky.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that we will see this same squad back again next year, (although it would be nice), because all five of their starters, including Darius Miller off the bench, have what it takes to play at the next level. But is this the right idea, this is a young squad and has a very good chance at a repeat championship, are these players ready? (For more see my other post on early entry into the NBA here). As much as I, and the rest of the basketball world would like these boys to stay around for another year, it looks pretty convincing that at least Davis, (scouted as the potential number one pick), will enter the draft.
While all of their plans for the spring still remain unclear, they don’t have to worry too much. Because as of now they are the best team in college basketball and no one can take that away from them.
It has been an exciting tournament, and one that I will never forget. Now that the NCAA tournament is over, we look ahead to the NBA playoffs which are just around the corner. It has never been a better time to be a basketball fan.