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Thousands Welcome Wildcats Back to Lexington

From the Associated Press

Kentucky coach John Calipari and his players returned home to throngs of adoring fans today after winning the school’s eighth NCAA championship Monday night.

Blue-clad fans packed Rupp Arena and watched replays of Kentucky’s 67-59 win over Kansas. Senior Darius Miller carried the NCAA trophy as players stepped off a sleek blue bus parked inside the arena to cheers and screams that are typical at a Wildcats’ home game.

Calipari first thanked the fans and said there were about 5,000 that welcomed the team at the airport. He told them: “You people never cease to amaze me.”

Calipari says Kentucky had “the best players and the best team” this year in the tournament.

(Photo by Josh James, Kentucky Public Radio)

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Kentucky Beats Kansas To Win Eighth National Title

The Kentucky Wildcats are the champions of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. UK defeated Kansas 67-59 tonight in New Orleans to claim the school’s eighth national title.

Kentucky led by as many as 18 points. The Jayhawks cut the lead to five late in the second half, but UK held on to claim the victory.

UK All-American Anthony Davis (pictured) was held to six points, but grabbed 16 rebounds, blocked six shots and handed out five assists. Davis was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

It’s the first career title for third year UK coach John Calipari.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images, from www.ncaa.com)

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Kentucky and Kansas Battle for NCAA Championship

In New Orleans tonight, the Kentucky Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks square off for the men’s NCAA basketball championship.

This will be the teams’ second meeting this season. John Calipari’s Wildcats won the first matchup, a 75-65 victory in a November tournament in
New York.

“The thing in this game, it will come down to the physicalness of play,” Calipari said. Are we playing people before they catch it, are we getting open before we catch the ball, are we being in a stance and staying down, are we doing a better job of rebounding?”

The Wildcats are playing for the school’s eighth national title. The Jayhawks are looking for their fourth championship.

Tipoff at the New Orleans Superdome is 9:23pm.

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Kentucky Beats Louisville, Will Face Kansas in NCAA Final

The Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Louisville Cardinals 69-61 tonight to reach the championship game of the men’s NCAA tournament.

Anthony Davis led UK with 18 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots.

U of L ends its season with a 30-10 record and its first Final Four appearance since 2005.

The top-seeded Wildcats will face Kansas Monday night in the title game in New Orleans. The Jayhawks beat the Buckeyes 64-62 to advance to Monday’s final.

(AP photo from www.ncaa.com).

 

 

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UK, U of L Get Ready for Superdome Final Four Showdown

The UK and U of L basketball teams have been practicing today at the Superdome in New Orleans, where they will square off tomorrow evening in the NCAA Final Four.

Thousands of Cards and Cats fans are also in New Orleans for the game, and many more will be watching at sports bars and house parties across Kentucky.

U of L’s Jared Swopshire says he and his teammates are not really caught up in the hype.

“I guess for the fans I can understand that it’s more than just a game, but for us, we’ve been playing this game for so many years that it’s just another basketball game, just a bigger stage,” he said.

This is the second straight Final Four for the Kentucky program, but the first for the team’s highly touted freshmen.
Senior guard Darius Miller says the Wildcats are playing well as a team.

“Nobody’s been really caring about who’s scoring the most or anything like that, we just all want to win the national championship. Once we all focus in on what we need to do to win the national championship, nothing else really matters,” he said.

This is Louisville’s first Final Four since 2005.

Kentucky and Louisville will tip off shortly after 6pm. The winner advances to Monday’s championship game against either Ohio State or Kansas.

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Cards/Cats Showdown Puts Commonwealth in Bright Spotlight

The University of Louisville/University of Kentucky rivalry will reach new heights Saturday night when the Cards and the Cats clash in the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans.

Some are calling it the biggest sporting event in the commonwealth’s history.

Listen to the story:

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This has the feel of a Kentucky Derby week, with the national media lens on Louisville and Lexington, focused not on thoroughbreds, but on what makes this basketball rivalry so intense.

Rick Pitino is in the unique position of having coached both teams. First, eight years at Kentucky and now eleven seasons in Louisville. This week he explained the fan demographics to an out of town questioner.

“We’re sort of limited to our city. They have as many fans in our city. It ends up with a lot of bad marriages. A lot of mixed marriages that end up bad. You have a Louisville woman with a Kentucky man and it always ends bad,” he joked.

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UK Women Fall to UConn in NCAA Tournament

The University of Kentucky women’s basketball team has been eliminated from the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats fell to Connecticut 80-65 Tuesday night in a regional final in Kingston, Rhode Island.

UK finishes the season with a 28-7 record.

UConn advances to its fifth straight Final Four appearance next week in Denver.

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U of L, UK Heading to NOLA for Final Four

The Louisville Cards and Kentucky Wildcats are headed to New Orleans for their historic Final Four matchup Saturday.

It’s their first NCAA tournament meeting since 1984.

The teams play annually during the regular season, and UK won their New Year’s Eve game 69-62.

Cards’ coach Rick Pitino says his team has changed over the past three months.

“Oh, I think we’re healthier, I think certainly (forward) Chane Behanon didn’t play too long in that game. He’s been an intregal part of our team. I think (guard) Peyton Siva’s healthy, and we have matured like they have matured,” Pitino said.

Pitino says his players will have to quickly adjust to the fanfare associated with the Final Four and playing on a larger national stage.

Kentucky coach John Calipari says he hasn’t changed his team’s preparation routine going into the game. He says an in-state rivalry might be fun for fans, but it has no meaning for the teams at this point in the season.

“It doesn’t matter, If you win or lose you’re going to feel the same, whether it’s a team you’ve played before or never seen in your life. A team that’s 12 miles from you or a team that’s a thousand miles from you,” he said.

U of L and UK will tip off shortly after 6:00pm Saturday.

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UK Women One Victory From First-Ever Final Four

The University of Kentucky women’s basketball team faces top-seeded Connecticut Tuesday night for a chance to join the men’s team in the NCAA Final Four.

It would be the Wildcats’ first trip to the national semifinals. UConn has been to twelve Final Fours and owns seven national championships.

UK coach Matthew Mitchell says his team is not intimidated by the Huskies, but there’s no ignoring the “Connecticut mystique.”

“Anybody that says it doesn’t exist is living in la-la land. I mean they are not in reality. Connecticut has earned the mystique, Tennessee has earned the mystique, and I think that you are silly to act like it’s just another game,” Mitchell said.

“Outside our locker room is a picture of the Final Four logo at Denver. We didn’t put an Elite Eight goal on our season, we put a Final Four goal. So we’re not playing all of the Connecticut teams of the past, we’re playing these players, so we’re trying to get focused on this team.”

UK and UConn tip off at 7:00pm Tuesday in Kingston, Rhode Island. The women’s NCAA Final Four is next weekend in Denver.

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Cards, Cats Prepping For First NCAA Showdown Since ’84

For the first time in nearly three decades, the UK and U of L men’s basketball teams will meet in an NCAA tournament game.

The 1983 contest was dubbed the Dream Game. UK and U of L had not played each other for 24 years. Coach Denny Crum’s Cards beat the Wildcats by 12 points in overtime, sending U of L to the Final Four.

“But this game is special, too,” Crum said. These guys on both teams have worked so hard to get here. They’re both very, very good basketball teams.”

U of L ended its regular season this year with two straight losses, but came to life in the post-season, winning the Big East tournament, and now four NCAA tournament games, including a decisive victory over top seed Michigan State.

The Wildcats lost in the final of the SEC tournament but have won each of their NCAA games by an average of almost 14 points.

The Cards and the Cats tip off just after 6:00pm Saturday in the Final Four in New Orleans. Kansas and Ohio State meet in the other semifinal.