The Big Dance crowns its King tonight in New Orleans
The Men’s College Basketball National Championship Game
No.1 Kentucky vs No.2 Kansas
April 2, 2012 9:20 PM EST
The Super Dome, New Orleans, La
Kentucky -6.5 (137)
The Field of 68 is down to the last two standing and it is somewhat appropriate that it’s the two winningest programs in Men’s Division I Basketball. Kentucky is incredibly talented but incredibly young starting three freshman and two sophomores. One of those freshman is Anthony Davis, Player of the Year and Wooden Award winner, a slam dunk to be the player taken in the NBA draft. Kansas is a bunch of career backups who Bill Self has melded into one very solid cohesive outfit that seemingly gets better ever game. The Jayhawks Thomas Robinson has blossomed into one of the premier big men in college basketball and received his share of POY consideration.
Like both semi-final games, the final is a rematch of a game played November 15th on a neutral floor (Madison Square Garden) and won by Kentucky 75-65. The game was tied 28-28 at the half, Kentucky opened the second half with a 13-2 run. Doron Lamb led five Wildcats in double-figures with 17 points as Kentucky shot 51% from the field including 7-15 from beyond the arc. Kansas was led by Tyshawn Taylor’s 22 points but the Jayhawks could only manage 20-59 (33.9%) from the field. The final score was not that close as UK could only manage to cash 16 of 29 foul shots.
Behind the numbers: Since 1989, No.1 seeds are 5-0 straight up (3-2 ATS) vs No.2 seeds. The last No.2 to beat a No.1 was Louisville over Duke in 1986. In the past 12 National Championship games, the favorite is 9-3. Kentucky is just 16-21 against the points this year, 5-6 on neutral courts. The Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in this tournament and 3-0 vs Big 12 opponents this year. UK games are 23-14 to the under, the low 16-4 when the posted total is between 130-139.5 and 9-2 vs teams that allow less than 64 ppg for the year. The over is 4-1 in five Wildcat NCAA games and this is the highest scoring team in the tournament. Kansas is 19-17 ATS this year going 5-7 on neutral courts. The Jayhawks are 2-2 as a dog and 8-3 vs teams allowing less than 64 ppg. The Rock Shocks saw the under in 12 of 16 non-conference games and eight of 12 neutral court games. The over was 5-2 when Kansas played teams avgg better than 77 ppg.
The Thunder rolls the Bulls, Boston spanks Miami
The NBA Finals preview between the Bulls and Thunder never really materialized as the Thunder pinned a 31-12 third quarter to a 49-39 halftime lead to rout Chicago 92-78. Russell Westbrook had 27 points and Kevin Durant 26 for OKC who called of the dogs early. John Lucas led the Bulls with 20 doing most of his damage in garbage time. Boston also won their third quarter 31-12 with Miami as the Celtics spanked the Heat 91-72. Miami had season lows in points and shooting percentage. Boston got a 16/11/14 triple-double from Rejean Rondo and improved to 15-5 since the All-Star break. Denver beat Orlando 104-101 as Dwight Howard sat it out with an injury, just the eighth game D12 has missed in 12 years. Toronto, Indiana. Phoenix, Portland, and the Lakers were the other winners in “The Association” on Sunday.
One week left in the NHL regular season
It’s the final week of the NHL regular season and it seems likes every game has some type of playoff implication. Whether it’s a fight for one of the few remaining spots, playoff seeding, or just sending messages for upcoming series … this week will be played out with playoff intensity. There was no lack of intensity in yesterday’s Flyer/Penguin matinee, a 6-4 slugfest won by the Flyers. Philadelphia climbed to within one point of the fourth-seeded Penguins in what figures to be a likely 4-5 first-round matchup, the higher seed getting home ice. Pittsburg got off to a quick 2-0 lead but the Flyers chipped away and took control with four goals on the period. With 1:03 left in the game, Pittsburg’s Joe Vitale crushed Flyer captain Danny Briere stting off a brawl with all 12 on ice players joining in. Gotta love the NHL and the best is yet to come. In other games … Ottawa spanked the Islander behind two goals and two assists by Kyle Turris. Florida lost their 17th shootout of the year, 2-1 in Detroit. The Bruins edged the Rangers 2-1 as Tim Thomas outdueled Henrik Lundqvist. Minnesota beat Chicago 5-4 in a shootout and Edmonton snuck by Anaheim 2-1 at the Pond.
In the final warmup for the Masters, Hunter Mahan won the Houston Open by a shot over Carl Pettersen. Third round leader and British Open champion Louis Oosthuisen was third, two strokes back. Lefty finished T4 four shots back and Ernie Els finished T12 six shots back. Undefeated 39-0 Baylor will meet Notre Dame in the Ladies College Basketball Championship game Tuesday in Denver. The Irish beat UConn for the third time this year with an OT victory over the Huskies. Baylot took over midway through the second half and were never threatened again by Stanford. Hero of Honor won the Louisiana Derby at a hefty 109-1, sweet if you had it. Ryan Newman won this week’s Nascar race at Martinsville. Check out this wild crash filled final five laps.