While I hate to admit this, I spent much of the day officiating high school basketball, so I am one of the few Americans alive who just finished watching the UK-North Carolina game thanks to the beautiful modern technology of the DVR, and my, oh my, what a game. UK overcame a nine point deficit late in the first half to outlast a tough Tarheel squad for a 73-72 win at Rupp Arena. This game was one of the best regular season games I've seen in years, and UK didn't seal the win until Anthony Davis blocked a John Henson shot with seven seconds left and claimed the rebound as a stunned UNC team failed to extend the game with a foul in the final seconds.
North Carolina connected on 11-of-18 from beyond the arc for 61%, but Kentucky's defense clamped down in the second half in allowing just 35% shooting for the Tarheels. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the Cats with 17 points while Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb each had 14 points and Darius Miller had 12. To say the win was a total team effort would be an understatement-even North Carolina coach Roy Williams noted after the game how difficult it is to defend a team that can score from all five positions.
Much has been written about the UK freshman, but it has to be noted that they showed much poise today. Being down 9 to a team that many have penciled in as national champions in front of a national TV audience can't be an easy thing to face, yet these young Wildcats found a way to overcome a team as talented and more experienced than they are to gut out a win. Certainly the Rupp Arena crowd was a factor, but in the end, it was the team that had to execute, and they did. I've said it before but it bears reapeating-at times this team looks like a bunch of freshmen, but these are perhaps the most talented bunch of freshmen and sophomores ever seen wearing the Blue and White. These Cats certainly have the talent to win on most nights, and wins like this one are teaching them how to handle adversity under pressure.
Due to future scheduling difficulties, this may be the last UK-North Carolina game which would be a shame. These two programs have set the standard, and the way both teams and coaches performed today shows college athletics at its finest. It may not be a popular opinion on this website, but Roy Williams is one of the finest coaches in America, and also one of the classiest. His team came in to Rupp, fought like champions, and handled losing with grace and dignity. I fully expect this North Carolina team to make the Final Four, and I sure as hell hope to see a Uk-UNC rematch for the national championship. Oh may we be so lucky!go back