Twenty quick thoughts on UK’s trip to the Final Four

(H-L photo)

(H-L photo)

Twenty thoughts on UK’s win over North Carolina and trip to the Final Four:

  1. This is Kentucky’s first Final Four since 1998, snapping a drought of 12 seasons, longest in school history.
  2. Forget that vacated stuff. This is John Calipari’s third Final Four trip with his third different team.
  3. Kentucky is already a two-point favorite over Connecticut in the national semifinal.
  4. Jay-Z was in the Kentucky locker room after the game, helping celebrate the win.
  5. Kentucky averaged 1.108 points per possession to North Carolina’s 0.970.
  6. The Cats continued their terrific defense, especially against three-point shooting. North Carolina was three of 16 from beyond the arc.
  7. Brandon Knight was named MVP, but I voted for DeAndre Liggins. He played great defense on Friday, and hit the big three-pointer with 38 seconds left on Sunday.
  8. North Carolina outrebounded UK 36-34, but the Heels had just 11 offensive rebounds to nine for UK. Both teams had 25 defensive rebounds.
  9. After avenging losses to Vanderbilt, Florida, West Virginia and North Carolina, the Cats now can avenge that Maui loss to Connecticut.
  10. Three UK players fouled out in the loss at North Carolina. In this game, North Carolina’s John Henson was in foul trouble the entire game and fouled out. He grabbed nine rebounds, but scored just four points.

The second 10:

  1. Brandon Knight made five of 11 three-pointers, after not shooting well for most of the tournament.
  2. This is Louisville’s worst nightmare. A loss to Morehead State in the first round, and Kentucky makes the Final Four.
  3. All five UK starters scored in double figures.
  4. Josh Harrellson, Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins each had four assists.
  5. Kentucky had 10 steals, most since having 10 against LSU on January 15.
  6. So UK could not make the Final Four with DeMarcus Cousins as its center, despite a fabulous season, but did with Josh Harrellson as its center.
  7. Kentucky made 12 of 22 three-pointers for 54.5 percent. That was big.
  8. If UK beats Connecticut, the Cats would play the winner of VCU and Butler.
  9. North Carolina made just one of nine threes in the second half.
  10. UNC shot 43.5 percent. The last team to shoot 50 percent against Kentucky? That was UConn in Maui, when the Huskies shot 57.7.

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Comments

  1. bayer says:

    21. The sight of Coach Cal’s Dad on CBS moments before the end of the game.

    Offense wins games, defense wins championships. Defense won this game and sets this team up nicely for the Final Four.

  2. Kevin Faris says:

    Thought I saw that UCONN was the 2 point favorite, but that may have changed. And kudos for recognizing, along with most, that this is the 3rd FF for Cal. I’m sure the UK/Cal haters will be trying to counter that all week. Oh well. GO CATS!

  3. louisb says:

    You can add Alabama and Ole Miss to the list of losses avenged this season. Only UConn (and Arkansas) remain.

  4. Trent McBride says:

    Don’t forget Georgia, too.

    We UK fans like our team nicknames. I dub thee – The Avengers!

  5. jhall says:

    John,

    Your anti-spam (Captcha) word for this blog post’s reply form is ‘tubby’.

    I have a screenshot if you want it.

    Go Cats!

  6. Ap in Nashville says:

    22. Jerry Tipton has been silenced!!

  7. lgcase says:

    Can we call them “The Underdogs”

  8. Curt says:

    John,

    I know talent is exciting, and wins games. But year after year we see in college basketball that TEAMS win championships. Cal says that between talent and experience he’ll take talent. I know it’s not that black and white – but do you think this experience with this team will impact his recruiting strategy? Will he keep getting the best one-and-done talent, or will he build teams? I’ve had so much more fun watching these guys struggle, develop, and now achieve than I did last year watching those incredibly talented guys win. I’m glad Billy G. has moved on, but I’m glad that he gave us Liggins, Harrellson, and Miller. They’ve made this season.

  9. Sue N. Allen says:

    John,
    Needless to say, I am delighted (the understatement of the year for me) with KY’s win and trip to the final four, but, has anyone said anything at all about those horribly unattractive hats that were give to the winning team? Who dreamed up that “bucket head”? I realize this is not a big problem in the overall scheme of things but it seemed to me that the players were uncomfortable wearing them – kept moving them around, etc. Speaking of hats, I don’t suppose there is any way of convincing the players that when they are given hats, at least for the TV moment, to please put them on with the “bill” toward the front. Oh well, I am just happy that they have the hats.
    Sue N. Allen