With the Kansas Jayhawks in the National Championship, it’s time to look at how our talented adversary got to this point as well. The Kentucky Wildcats defeated their bitter in-state rivals, the Louisville Cardinals, 69-61 in a game of SEC dominance over the best team from the most talented conference in college basketball; the Big East. John Calipari and National Player of the Year Anthony Davis led UK over the great Rick Pitino and Louisville. After the game ran its course, cars were flipped as Kentucky fans celebrated in the wildest way possible. Before the game, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (the minority leader) even took the Senate floor and talked about the heated game.
Both Final Four games were under 70 point battles, and the No. 1 seeded Wildcats ended up the victors over the No. 4 seed squad that had just two players enter double-digits on the night; point guard Peyton Siva and Chane Behanan.
Louisville went just 5-15 on second chance points, and they missed a whopping 16 lay-ups/dunks. Seven of those were due to some incredible defense from superstar Anthony Davis, who finished with five blocks, 14 rebounds, and 18 points on near-perfect 7-8 shooting. UK dominated in transition and held the Cardinals best player, Kyle Kuric, to a rare poor performance. Kuric went just 3-8.
Although Pitino’s squad out-rebounded Kentucky by five, they shot just 38.4%. Meanwhile, the ‘Cats finished shooting a 57.1% clip, which is the best Final Four shooting percentage since the same mark achieved by Syracuse in 2003. Kuric finished with five rebounds, Behanan ended up with nine, and star center Gorgui Dieng had 12 rebounds to compensate for a putrid 3-10 game. Dieng was the only player to play in all 40 minutes, although I’m sort of nit-picking here since Davis finished with 39.
Chris Smith wasn’t much better than Dieng, and the guard went 3-11 in 23 minutes of play and did nothing else in a game dominated by Davis. You can honestly say that both teams played poorly and that Davis had the only truly great performance. Hey, that’s why he’s the POY.
Below are some statistical notes on what the Kentucky Wildcats did.
1. Terrence Jones went just 3-8 and 0-3 from the line, but he provided value on defense with seven boards and two thefts and packs apiece.
2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went 4-6, Doron Lamb had 10 on 4-9 shooting with each netting four turnovers.
3. Marquis Teague had a nondescript game and went 4-8 with five assists, while bench star Darius Miller was second in the game with 13 points on 4-7 shooting (4-4 from the line) and three rebounds and two steals.
So you can see that it was Davis alone who lifted this team with an array of solid, unspectacular performances to back him up with efficient shooting. He dominated the interior and caused problems for a very ineffective Louisville team that had a flattering scoreline in a game that was always bound to be a win for Kentucky.
Ugly line of the game: Russ Smith went 4-15 with three turnovers.
Follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.
Tags: Anthony Davis Big East Chris Smith Darius Miller Doron Lamb Final Four Gorgui Dieng John Calipari Kentucky Kyle Kuric Louisville Marquis Teague Michael Kidd-Gilchrist National Championship NCAA Tournament Peyton Siva Popular Rick Pitino Russ Smith SEC Terrence Jones