NCAA Tournament: ‘Cats Shoot Past Cards and Into Title Matchup with Kansas [VIDEO]
It really wasn’t the most attractive basketball game you’ll ever see. But it was a good one. Bluegrass Armageddon between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals lived up to the billing. It was kind of a trade-off. U of L outrebounded UK on the offensive boards, 19-6, but the ‘Cats shot 57 percent from the field on their way to a 69-61 victory. After Louisville exploded for a 17-4 run to tie the game at 49, Kentucky quietly edged to a 55-51 lead.
Then it was Darius Miller who swished the three and put the cats up 58-51. The Cards never got closer than six the rest of the way. Any of the analysts who predicted a blow-out were way off base. It seldom matters at what level two rivals are playing when they meet. And it didn’t on Saturday night.
And this rivalry never seemed to matter to the players. In fact, many on UK’s team are close friends with some of the Cardinals. So that crazy aspect never got into their heads. And nothing ever seems to get into Anthony Davis’s head. This kid is ridiculous!
You have to go back to 1988 to find the last time a player scored 15+ points, made 10+ rebounds, and got 5 blocks in a Final Four matchup. That was Danny Manning of Kansas in a game against Duke. On Saturday, Pterodactyl Davis had 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks. His arms are like 30 feet long.
And what about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? Dude commits three fouls and is largely ineffectual, but then comes back in the second half after riding the pine and flips out. Or should I say “spins out?” That spin move to the layup at the eight-minute mark was extraordinary.
With subtle but key contributions from Miller, Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague, and Kyle Wiltjer–who always has a three in his back pocket–UK moved on to a title game meeting with Kansas on Monday night. The win was all the more impressive as it came against the nation’s #1 defensive outfit in Louisville.
And speaking of Louisville, Coach Rick Pitino made the classiest comment I’ve heard in a long, long time during a post-game press conference when he said the Cardinals will be pulling for Kentucky to bring the trophy back to the Bluegrass.
I love this rivalry! I love this game! And this remarkable season will culminate Monday night when the two winningest programs in college basketball history will hook up for the National Championship! It’s Kentucky vs. Kansas for all the marbles! GAME ON!