Sunday, April 1, 2012

And then there were two

The state of Kentucky can finally resume as normal (besides the city of Lexington). The Wildcats are going to the championship game for the first time since 1998, and are looking for title #8 in the school's proud basketball history. The game vs Louisville was in control for most of the night, as Kentucky pulled away from the Cardinals early and was able to keep the lead somewhere between 4-13 points most of the game. Louisville was able to get a run in the 2nd half and tie the game at 49, but Kentucky showed their composure and responded quickly after, eventually winning the game by 8 points.

In game #2, Ohio State put Kansas in a hole early in the first half and carried a double digit lead into half. However, Kansas stormed back in the 2nd half, keeping close throughout the last 10 minutes of the game, eventually going on a 13-2 run towards the end and putting Ohio State away 64-62. As good as the game was, the ending was somewhat disappointing. Down by 3, Kansas decided to foul Aaron Craft with 2.9 seconds left, as Ohio State was only in the one-and-one situation at the free throw line. Craft made his first basket and purposefully missed the second, and in his attempt to get his own rebound he stepped into the paint before the ball hit the rim, committing a lane violation and giving Kansas the in-bounds. As the replays were shown as to what had happened, the play resumed and the cameras cut back in time to see Kansas running out the clock as Ohio State players looked around confused as to what was going on. Although an awkward ending, the game was a great one and a very deserving win for Thomas Robinson and the Jayhawks.

Almost all analysts in the country expected this Kentucky team to at least make the title game, and they didn't disappoint. Kansas on the other hand was a pretty large surprise, as they have largely overachieved with a team seen as much weaker than the Kansas teams of the past couple years. However, Bill Self has done a marvelous job coaching this team back to the title game for the first time since winning it all in 2008, and look to pull off what would be the most surprising win all season for the Jayhawks. 

As good of a story it would be to see Thomas Robinson, whose Grandmother, Grandfather, and Mom all passed away in a matter of months last year, win the national title, I'm afraid that things look bleak for Kansas. These two teams played each other back on November 15 in Madison Square Garden, with the Wildcats winning 75-65, although the score does not reflect the domination that the Wildcats had in that game. These teams are admittedly vastly different since the first meeting, but I still believe that Kentucky is the much deeper, more talented team, and I do not think T-Rob can out-duel youngster Anthony Davis. 

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Kentucky wins 71-67 Monday night for the championship, with good showings from both teams.

No comments:

Post a Comment