Here’s a fun off-season topic: ranking the top ten games of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Matt Norlander did just that over at CBSSports.com, and only one of the National Champions’ games made it on the list: the Indiana game.
10. Kentucky 102, Indiana 90. How could a game that ended with a double-digit margin be one of the 10 best of the tournament? First, did you see this year’s tournament? Second, the pace and quality of play of this game would rank in the top three if we made a list based purely off those two criterions. The scoring pace was sick; Kentucky put up more than 1.4 points per possession, while Indiana had a 1.25 PPP rate. Only one in 10 possessions ended in a turnover. Plus, UK-IU was about as good of a lead-up to a Sweet 16 game as we could’ve asked for. The rematch of one of Kentucky’s two losses from this year, and so tangible means of revenge was placed right there for John Calipari’s team. Indiana probably beats all but maybe UK and a healthy UNC if it played the way it did in this game against any other group in the country. Just the wrong opponent to get matched up with in the bracket. Hoosiers could/should/will be in Kentucky’s position next year (i.e., a one seed).
When you take off the blue-tinted glasses, I guess it’s not that surprising that only one Kentucky game made the list; save a few scares, the Cats pretty much dominated the rest. Yet, there was something so emotional and raw about the Louisville game that will keep it in my Hall of Fame forever. And even though the Kansas game to win the title was pure nirvana that still puts a smile on my face, most people outside of the state seemed to think it was pretty boring.
What about you: where would you rank Kentucky’s games in this year’s tournament?