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Matt Norlander ranks the best games of the tournament



Just because

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?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR.

26 responses to “Matt Norlander ranks the best games of the tournament”

  1. Fred

    I thought the UK/IU was one of the top 5, but that’s just me…

  2. I Says

    UK/IU game was by far the most entertaining game to watch of this years buzzer-beater-less tourny.

  3. dank

    6. WKU: meh. a 16 vs 1, given it was the hilltoppers and the derrick gordon mkg thing was a story line. we knew kentucky would win, the just played like crap the final 5 min.
    5. ISU: Royce White thought he was somethin. Doron went banannas.
    4.IU: Remath, frenetic pace, only game where you really could understand if someone was nervous in second half(no way we would lose to loserville)
    3.Baylor: best first half we’d played all season against most athletic team in the tournament
    2. UL: just cuz it was the Tards in the Final 4
    1. KU: Only cuz it was natl champ. game

  4. Raazoul

    I’m actually still thinking about two posts ago. Where the recruits guessed where Muhammed and Noel are headed. I’m kinda worried about those kids’ answers. Seems like those kids are starting to think ONLY go to UK if your going to be “one and done”. I hope those kids look at Lamb, Jones and Wiltjer and realize they can develop here and increase their stock.

  5. CAT8

    He calls Anthony Davis “Allen Davis” in his article. Did he watch any college basketball this year?

  6. CAT8

    Completely misread that. My apologies.

  7. kentucky1159

    #5 he said “Alien Davis” as in not of this world.

  8. Curadhan

    Gosh, it’s hard to do this with no blue lens bias but here we go looking completely objectively.
    6 – WKU: It was great to see what WKU to get to this game but the game was a blow-out minus UK’s lazy last 5 minutes.
    5 – Baylor: Objectively this was team that should have hung with Kentucky and having the size and athleticism to do but just laying over under the best peformance from the Cats perhaps all year in the 1st half and the 2nd half just being a slow grind with no real change in lead.
    4 – ISU: Scary good game if you were an ISU fan in the beginning of the 2nd half. Royce White absolutely confounded us for about 4 minutes of basketball and made the best in the nation look rattled for the first time ever…then they remembered that they were the best in the nation and hammered down and the game got boring again from there.
    3 – UL: Taking emotion and bias out of it this was an ugly, ugly game….defensive grindfest meets the Bluegrass Follies…but UL tying UK with 9 minutes left was enough to make it a suddenly good game and forced UK to check itself for like the 4th time in the season and get it done.
    2 – KU: Again, boring for the onlooker…UK just hammering KU into bloody submission in the first half…but KU ain’t Baylor…and they came storming back to cut what should have been BBN celebrating #8 already to a 5 point lead with 2 minutes left and a worried hush falling over BBN everywhere. Kansas gets kudos for that alone.
    1 – IU: Gotta agree here….an NBA level score….masterful offense on both sides and solid defense that was belied by the score. Both teams played their best and as a result the better team won as any game should be. The masterstroke was Crean’s unique strategy of putting UK on the line with every touch of the ball starting at the 2 minute mark and UK going 12 for 12 from the line. Unparalleled late game tourney free throw %.

  9. Dem Datums

    Criterions? Really?

  10. wolfcreekbrian

    1,2,3,4,5,6

  11. Blue Jesus

    I’ve thought for a while that it is pretty clear Teague will leave considering Harrow will play next year and Teague’s minutes would only decrease. I’m still holding out hope for MKG and Lamb though.

  12. Blue Jeezy

    #1: UofL
    #2: Kansas
    #3: IU
    #4: Baylor
    #5: Iowa St
    #6: WKU

  13. mikechang

    I need that picture as a poster.

  14. ltylerj

    My desktop background! Love waking up to that everyday. Starts the day off right, I think.

  15. herodotus6

    How in the **** do you not put UK/UL in the top three?!?!?!?!?!? The hype leading into that game was incredible, and the game lived up to every bit of it. UL fell behind big early in the second, pulls back to tie the game, forces UK to play a bad game for most of the game, and kept the game manageable until the last minute. By far was a better game than UK/IU where UK led most of the way and kept answering every time IU tried to make a run. ****, even the KU game ranks higher in UK’s tournament games.

  16. CATSCATSCATS

    Louisville game hello? Cal vs. Pitino, UK vs. U of L, etc. etc. etc.

  17. uktrapr

    Indiana game was the most fun to watch, for me nyway

  18. poppschmidty

    The Kentucky vs Indiana game was by far the most entertaining, but certainly not the best. There was little, to no, defense.

  19. Thomas Jefferson

    What does this mean?:

    ” 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.”

    Beats all but MAYBE Kentucky? We BEAT them!

    And he has some wobbly other picks too. Mostly a dumb list.

  20. Section 133

    No. 1—Petrino v. Karma.

  21. Marine

    To the UK football team. Watch and feel what winning is like. We need you,we believe in you. If you believe and we believe we CAN get it done. You have to realize we love our basketball and football and baseball. Hell we love all UK sports. We are on our way. Semper Fi.

  22. Laker Cat 18

    Everybody on the messages boards on that site are wondering why the Louisville/Florida game didn’t make the cut. It’s simple folks, #LouisvilleDoesn’tExist

  23. Fred

    19 – he means the UK/IU was probably the best of all the games except maybe a UK/UNC game where UNC was healthy and played blah blah blah…

  24. Mudcreekmark

    Indiana game was the worse coaching job done by Coach Cal all year. We are very lucky it didn’t come back to bite us in the ass. Indiana went right after Davis to get him in foul trouble and it worked. We get Zeller and Hulls in the same foul trouble and let them off the hook. Coach Crean knew he was beat if he didn’t bring Zeller and Hulls back in when he did in the first half and we did nothing to try to pick up their 3rd fouls. We not once posted Zeller up and never tried isolating against Hulls to try to get his third. We let Hulls play the rest of the first half. We could have really put them in a bad spot that first half and just let it slip away.I was screaming at the TV the whole first half. I couldn’t believe not one assistant or Cal thought about trying to go at Zeller and Hulls.

  25. awesome man

    1. UK v KU
    2. UK v UL
    3. UK v Baylor
    4. UK v IU
    5. UK v ISU
    6. UK v WKU
    7-9 who cares

  26. louieg

    There is nothing boring about winning especially when all the Calipari haters had to eat their own words on the one and done scenario.This championship team had the heart,the desire and the will to win and for me I enjoyed the whole season except for the last second shot in Bloomington which kept us from being undefeated.GO CATS!!!!!:)