Kentucky Beats Kansas For 8th National Championship
New Orleans played host to a true battle of college basketball heavyweights Monday night as the Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 to win the 2012 NCAA National Championship. The victory marks the 8th title in school history for the Wildcats, good for 2nd all-time (UCLA 11).
Anthony Davis was named the Final Four most outstanding player. Despite having only 6 points on Monday night, his effect on the outcome was evident. The 6’10 freshmen (and hopefully future Hornet) finished with an impressive stat line of 16 rebounds, 6 blocks, 6 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
“Well, it’s not me, it’s these guys behind me,” Davis said when accepting the MOP award. ”They led us this whole tournament. This whole game I was struggling offensively, and I told my team, every time down, you all score the ball. I’m just gonna defend and rebound.”
Sophomore Doron Lamb led all scorers with 22, 6 of which came on big back to back 3 pointers midway through the second half.
Wildcat head coach John Calipari (pictured left) finally earned his long-awaited national championship. When asked about what it meant, Calipari quickly deflected the praise.
“This is not about me,” explained Calipari. “This is about these 13 players. This is about the Big Blue Nation (Kentucky fans).”
While Kentucky finished the year 38-2, the national runner-up Kansas Jayhawks ended the year with an impressive record of 32-7.
The Jayhawks were down by as many as 18 and managed to cut the deficit to 5 with 97 seconds to go. Bill Self‘s team has mastered the art of the comeback, but Monday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Wildcats superb defense simply wouldn’t allow it.
“I don’t think we lost, ” stated Self in postgame. “I just think they beat us.”
Jayhawk fans are no stranger to coming up just short. Kansas is now tied with Duke for the most runner-up finishes in NCAA tournament history with 6.
“It’s a bad feeling,” explained senior Tyshawn Taylor. “Being so close and working so hard for 4 years to ge to this game…and we came up just short.”