Kentucky Outlasts Kansas to Win National Title
by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
As Editor-in-Chief Ben Osborne Live Blogged last night, Kentucky capped off a remarkable season by defeating Kansas, 67-59, to win the national championship. The title was the first for the Wildcats since 1998.
As it has done all year, Kentucky’s defense set the tone of the game. The Wildcats blocked 11 shots and held Kansas to 35.5 percent shooting from the field.
Keying that defensive effort was freshman center Anthony Davis, who was voted Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. Davis had just six points but also added 16 rebounds, six blocks and three steals.
The championship was Kentucky’s eighth but head coach John Calipari’s first. Afterwards, he didn’t want to dwell on his own accomplishment.
“This is not about me,” Calipari told a national television audience upon accepting the championship trophy with his team in the Superdome. “This is about these 13 players. This is about the Big Blue Nation. I don’t know of any team that has sacrificed for each other like this team, and they deserve this moment. They really do.”
While Davis led the way, the Wildcats got major contributions all year from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones and Darius Miller. Kentucky finished the season 38-2. It was the least number of losses for a champion since Connecticut won with two losses in 1999.