Kentucky beats Kansas for national championship
Kentcuky beat Kansas 67-59 Monday night to claim the school’s eighth national title and its first since 1998. The Wildcats were the best team in the land pretty much wire-to-wire in this game — minus a 2-minute stretch where the Jayhawks cut the deficit to six — and for the entire college basketball season. Almost immediately, the sleepy town of Lexington began rioting.
Anyway, here is what we were watching during the Kentucky-Kansas final:
Sacrificial Lamb » The man who sparked the Wildcats when they needed it was Doron Lamb. The silky smooth wing player went 7-for-12 from the field, including 3-for-6 from beyond the arc, and finished with a game-high 22 points. His back-to-back triples with around 11 minutes left shifted the momentum back to Kentucky and pushed the lead up to 16 points.
Withey’s World » Kansas big man Jeff Withey didn’t fill up the stat sheet, but his defensive effort against National Player of the Year Anthony Davis was inspiring. Davis didn’t hit his first field goal until the 5:12 mark of the second half. For the game, Davis was held to 1-of-10 shooting and was constantly swarmed when the Wildcats tried to go inside.
Too talented » We know we’re beating a dead horse here, but Kentucky was clearly the deeper, longer, more athletic team — just as they had been in every game in this tournament run. They led by as many as 18 points in this one and only trailed for a 2-minute span. In fact, Kentucky only trailed for a grand whopping total of 9 minutes, 21 seconds during the entire NCAA tournament.
Shout to POTUS » CBS analyst Clark Kellogg interviewed President Barack Obama in his halftime segment. Kellogg did the same bit last year and Obama beat the former college star in a game of POTUS (otherwise known as HORSE). When Kellogg asked if there would be a rematch this time around, the President laughed and informed him that he had retired, then added that maybe it would happen during his “second term.”
Block party » Kentucky recorded 11 blocks in the national championship game, breaking the old record of 10. Anthony Davis once gain led the way with six of those blocks, but it was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s denial on a would-be easy lay-up that might have ended a miraculous Kansas comeback in the closing minutes. Kansas got the ball back, but turned it over with 54 seconds left.
Tweet of the night » Our favorite came courtesy of the increasingly popular @Kuboobs, a handle that pretty much speaks for itself. (Women clad in T-shirts showing off their assets). Minutes after the game went final, they tweeted out this gem: “Ok so how long until Kentucky is forced to vacate this season? We put the over/under at 7 months.” Remember, John Calipari had to forfeit two of his previous Final Four appearances due to NCAA violations.
Congrats to Coach Cal » Speaking of Calipari, the Kentucky coach finally won his first national championship. It was his fourth Final Four and second national championship game. (Ironically, he lost to Kansas and Bill Self back in 2008 when Calipari coached Memphis). Say what you want about Coach Cal and his one-and-done philosophy but the guy can flat-out coach — and his players love him. “This is not about me,” Calipari said after winning his first national title. “This is about these 13 players. This is about the Big Blue Nation.”