Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

UK'S MARCH CONTINUES Wildcats Win Battle of Bluegrass, Earn Shot at NCAA Title

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

UK'S MARCH CONTINUES Wildcats Win Battle of Bluegrass, Earn Shot at NCAA Title

Article excerpt

NEW ORLEANS - Kentucky owns the Bluegrass State. Now it can concentrate on the rest of the country Anthony Davis and topseeded Kentucky will play for the national title Monday night after finally putting away pesky Louisville 69-61 in the Final Four on Saturday night.

It will be Kentucky's first appearance in the title game since winning a seventh NCAA crown back in 1998 and gives coach John Calipari another shot at the title that has eluded him.

As the final seconds ticked down, Davis pointed to the court and screamed twice "This is my stage!" Yes, yes, it is.

With Davis, everybody's player of the year, leading a starstudded roster, Kentucky was the top seed in the tournament and the heavy favorite to cut down the nets when the whole tournament was done. And Calipari wouldn't let his young players consider anything else, saying repeatedly this was "just another game."

But playing in-state rival Louisville (30-10) is never just that, and the Cardinals made Kentucky work deep into the second half to grind this victory out.

Louisville outrebounded Kentucky 40-33, including a whopping 19- 6 advantage on the offensive glass - the sole reason the Cardinals were able to make a game of this.

"I just said 'John, I'll be pulling for you, bring the trophy back home to Kentucky,"' Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "Sometimes there's a lot of talk about these guys fighting, dialysis, there's also really a lot of people that get along... For those that have brains, they root for each other.

"We like their basketball team; we hope they bring it home for the state."

Bigger, bulkier and with the 19-year-old freshman Davis having a wider wingspan than some small airplanes, the Wildcats looked like playground bullies as they pushed Louisville around on their way to a 13-point lead early in the second half. But the Cardinals know a thing about rallies after coming from 11 points down to beat Florida in last weekend's West Regional final, and they sure made Kentucky sweat. …

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