2012 NCAA Tournament: Kentucky Wildcats Take Down Nets
Road to the Championship:
After nearly a month of tournament play, only two teams survived: No. 1 seed University of Kentucky and No. 2 seed University of Kansas. It was not a surprise to see both of these basketball powerhouse schools vying for the national championship.
The Kentucky Wildcats were an early favorite within the hoopla of March Madness. The Wildcats, led by head coach John Calipari, were seeded No. 1 within the south region. Kentucky, who lost to Connecticut in last year’s Final Four, was primed to earn its redemption. Victories over Western Kentucky (81-66), Iowa State (87-71), Indiana (102-90) and Baylor (69-61) sent the Wildcats into the Final Four, where it defeated state rival, Louisville (69-61).
The No. 2 seed University of Kansas Jayhawks were also coming off of a conference championship loss to Baylor. Coached by Bill Self, the Jayhawks aimed to surpass last year’s tournament exit (Elite Eight). The Jayhawks defeated Detroit (65-50), Purdue (63-60), North Carolina State (60-57) and North Carolina (80-67) before narrowly beating Ohio State (64-62) in the Final Four.
Shining Moment for Davis:
Kentucky freshman forward Anthony Davis, the phenom emerging from the 2012 March Madness play, broke the NCAA freshman block record of three blocks in just the first 12 minutes of the national championship game. This season, Davis swatted away 183 shots in just 40 games.
Davis logged six points, 16 rebounds, five assists and six blocks, leading the Wildcats to a national championship. Davis also won the award for the Most Outstanding Player (the fourth freshman to win the award).
Too Little, Too Late:
Known for its late game surges, Kansas attempted to close the gap against Kentucky. With 1:37 to play, Kansas trailed 62-57. The Wildcats fought back by making five of its seven free throws, ensuring the championship with over a minute to play.
The Jayhawks were powered by guard Tyshawn Taylor who totaled 19 points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal. Forward Thomas Robinson added 18 points, 17 rebounds and one assist.
Wildcats Claw the Jayhawks:
Along with Davis’ phenomenal performance, the Wildcats were fueled by guard Doron Lamb who added a whopping 22 points, two rebounds and three assists. Fellow guard Marquis Teague posted 14 points, two rebounds and three assists.
A new champion reigns in the world of collegiate basketball. As sports fans tear up their 2012 brackets (or frame them), the performances of the Kentucky Wildcats in the 2012 championship will truly last a lifetime. With March Madness officially at a close, we have a year to recuperate before embarking on the madness once again.