The No. 1 seed Kentucky Wildcats advanced to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s tournament championship game for the first time since 1998 after taking out the No. 4 seed Louisville Cardinals, 69-61, on March 31, at the Mercedes Benz Super Dome in New Orleans, La.
The Wildcats were led by freshman center Anthony Davis, who scored 18 points with 14 rebounds, five blocks, two assists and one steal. Davis was recently named the NCAA Men’s Player of the Year, becoming only the second freshman to win the award in college basketball history; Maryland native Kevin Durant was the first freshman to win it with Texas in 2007.
Other key contributors for Kentucky were sophomore guard Doron Lamb, who added 10 points and senior forward Darius Miller, who followed Davis with 13 points scored off the bench.
Louisville was led by junior guard Peyton Siva with 11 points and freshman forward Chane Behenan with 10 points. Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, who once led Kentucky to a national title as coach in the 1990s, said he hopes Kentucky goes on to win it all.
"To tell you the truth, I haven't always liked some of the Kentucky teams. I'm not going to lie to you," said Pitino to reporters after the game. "But I really like this team a lot because of their attitude and the way they play. I'll certainly be rooting for them hard to bring the trophy back to Kentucky. … They're a great group of guys, doing a tremendous job."
Kentucky will face No. 2 seed Kansas on Monday April 2. Kansas advanced to the title game after barely edging fellow No. 2 seed Ohio State, 64-62, in the Final Four March 31.
Kansas was able to contain Ohio State sophomore star center Jared Sullinger, who only scored 13 points on 5-of -19 shooting, although he did grab a game-high 11 rebounds. Senior guard William Buford led OSU with 19 points, but Kansas scored just enough points to slide by the Buckeyes to the Finals. Kansas junior forward and D.C. native Thomas Robinson led four of five starters to score double digits with 19 points.