Kentucky beats Louisville to advance to NCAA men's basketball finals

Kentucky's Anthony Davis dunks on Louisville during the Wildcats' 69-61 semifinal victory Saturday night in New Orleans.

Story highlights

  • Kansas narrowly defeats Ohio State, 64-62, to advance to the NCAA finals
  • They will face Kentucky, which beat Louisville 69-61 earlier in the night
  • The championship game will be held Monday night in New Orleans
The University of Kansas men's basketball team squeaked by Ohio State late Saturday night, setting up a NCAA tournament championship showdown with top-seeded Kentucky.
Hours earlier, the Wildcats defeated Louisville in its own semifinal. They and the Jayhawks will play Monday night for the title at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Under coach John Calipari, Kentucky posted a 32-2 record over the course of this season -- with its only losses coming at the hands of Indiana and Vanderbilt, the latter coming in the Southeastern Conference tourney.
It entered the 68-team NCAA tournament as the No. 1 seed in the South bracket, and the favorite to win it all in the eyes of many pundits. The team was led by Anthony Davis, a freshman who was recently named the Associated Press's college basketball player of the year.
But a win in Saturday's contest against Kentucky's in-state rival, Louisville, was hardly a given. The Cardinals, for one, had a head coach with a national title to his credits -- Rick Pitino, who ironically won that distinction in 1996 as head coach at Kentucky.
Louisville entered the NCAAs with momentum after winning the Big East post-season tournament. The Cardinals battled Kentucky tight throughout Saturday's game, tying the score, 49-49, at one point early in the second half.
But the Wildcats eventually pulled away, winning by a 69-61 margin.
Ohio State and Kansas entered the night's second tilt as No. 2 seeds, having both defeated the top seeds in their brackets -- Syracuse and North Carolina, respectively -- during the Elite 8.
The Jayhawks were paced by forward Thomas Robinson, this season's lone unanimous AP All-American pick. On the other side of the court was the Buckeyes' Jared Sullinger, who himself earned first-team honors for the second straight year.
On Saturday night, Ohio State jumped ahead early, carrying a 34-25 advantage into the half.
But Kansas stormed back after the intermission, notching the game up at 38-38 with 14 minutes left in the game.
The rest of the game was nip-and-tuck, with rarely more than a few points separating the two teams and several lead changes in the final minutes.
Kansas edged ahead with just over a minute to go and held on, thanks to some pivotal free throws and an Ohio State lane violation call, for a 64-62 victory.