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March Madness Blog – Championship Game, SS Bracket Challenge, Riots in Lexington

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We have a winner in the Sports Spectrum Bracket Challenge! Congratulations to Jayne S. Jayne beat everyone, including all of Sports Spectrum’s staff, so she will be receiving one of everything from Sports Spectrum’s store!

Last night, Kentucky beat Kansas 67-59 to finish off their dominant season with a 38-2 record. But before we get to last night’s observations, some quick things from the Final Four.

- Louisville fought really hard to stay competitive with Kentucky and forced the game into a pace that would give them a chance to win. Unfortunately, Louisville couldn’t hit outside shots, making just four three-pointers. You have to shoot well from outside when you are playing against a dominant shot blocker like Anthony Davis.

- Ohio State has to feel like they let one get away. The Buckeyes led most of the game (they were up by nine at halftime), and didn’t give up the lead until 2:48 remained. Kansas had only lead 2-0 before that point. It was alarming how bad a game All-American Jared Sullinger had for the Buckeyes, shooting just 5-of-19 from the field and struggling to get his shot off against Kansas’ Jeff Withey. At one point, Withey blocked Sullinger’s shot three times in one possession. Deshaun Thomas stayed in foul trouble all night and also played poorly, shooting just 3-of-14. Withey had 7 blocks and helped slow the Buckeyes offense in the second half.

Now to the championship game.

- It’s wild to see such a dominant performance from a player who only scores six points, but that’s what Kentucky’s Anthony Davis did. Along with those six points, he had 16 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and six blocks. Kansas tried to go to the rim last night, but if Davis wasn’t blocking shots, he was altering them. Many times Kansas would rush a layup, or take a difficult shot in trying to avoid the newest “Sultan of Swat.”

- Kansas’ Thomas Robinson played with great effort but did not score efficiently. He had 18 points and 17 rebounds, but he shot just 6-of-17 from the field. I was impressed with him in the tournament, though. He definitely looks like the second-best prospect heading into the NBA draft.

- It was fun to see all of the shot blockers in this game. We knew about Davis, but teammates Terrence Jones and Darius Miller also had two blocks each. And Withey gave Kentucky’s offense fits as well, blocking four shots. There were 16 blocked shots in this game, five by Kansas, and 11 by Kentucky.

- Even though Davis may have been the player of the game, a lot of credit has to go to Doron Lamb for leading Kentucky’s offense. Lamb scored 22 points and seemingly hit all three of his three-pointers when Kansas had the potential to make a big run.

- Unfortunately, after last night’s game, Kentucky fans went bonkers back in Lexington, starting riots, flipping cars, and burning couches. Someone even got shot. A really strange way to celebrate a championship in my opinion.

- It will be interesting to see where all of Kentucky’s players get drafted. With the way they played such great team ball all year, it’s difficult to know how individuals like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Maquis Teague will do when more of the pressure is on them to make plays each night.

- It will also be interesting to see if John Calipari, potentially linked to the Knicks head coaching job, will want to try his hand at the NBA again since he has his long-awaited NCAA Championship. If he does leave now, I think he will command much more respect in an NBA huddle than he did the first time around when he coached the New Jersey Nets.

Calipari said on ESPN radio’s Mike and Mike show this morning that he would relish the opportunity to try and go undefeated in college, so he may have zero interest in the NBA.

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