Game Notes: UNC at UK
Pray the basketball gods give us a national title game like this.
by Eddie Maisonet / @edthesportsfan
On one of college basketball’s grandest stages, the powers that be decided to give hoop fans a gift on a day that is usually dominated by the contests on the gridiron. North Carolina took their talents on the road against the top-ranked team in the nation, the Kentucky Wildcats. Sports has a way of being unpredictable at times, as some contests games that are billed as “The Game of the Century” end up being lackluster, boring or overhyped.
Not this time.
Yes, the final score would tell us that Kentucky defeated North Carolina 73-72 in the crazy environment that is Adolph Rupp Arena, as the drama plateaued with a crazy fight that saw Anthony Davis somehow block John Henson’s jumpshot in the final seconds to secure the victory (and create the “Fear The Unibrow” movement). Somehow, the score really doesn’t matter toward the true takeaways and implications of this game.
Superstars usually find ways to take over parts of the game. First it was Harrison Barnes and Terrence Jones trading haymakers from beyond the arch. Then it was the penetrate and finish by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist versus the penetrate and dish of Kendall Marshall. PJ Hairston and Anthony Davis both played at a level that totally made us forget they were freshman. It was a heavyweight slugfest and it left us all wanting for more.
Per John Calipari on his squad, “We only had 48 hours to prepare and I told my team to speed it up and then grind it out. For a freshman (heavy) team, we had just 9 turnovers,” said Calipari. “Just incredible.”
While Coach Cal will surely have his boys celebrating a huge victory and Roy Williams will definitely take the time to pick up his boys after a tough loss, both coaches will walk away feeling that they opportunity to win it all in March is a strong one. North Carolina’s ability to hit big shots in the perimeter (especially PJ Hairston and Reggie Bullock) will give Tar Heels something positive to reflect on. Kentucky’s defense in the second half was nothing short of incredible, as they held the Tar Heels to just 34.5 percent shooting in the second half and recorded 7 blocks in the game.
Per John Henson, “Games like this get you ready for March, and that’s all that matters right now.”
As football begins to die down and we try to rinse the dirty taste out of our mouth with the pro game, the only thing that matters to hoop fans is that we hopefully get the opportunity to see this type of performance again. While we’ve had the pleasure of having the double dip of David vs. Goliath in recent years, a game like this can really pique your interest in seeing two basketball blue bloods face off for the ultimate title.
Sometimes, you’ve just got to pray.
You can follow Eddie at @edthesportsfan or follow his newest project The Sportsfan Journal.