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NCAA Basketball Tournament Report: Kentucky and Kansas Advance To 2012 Final Four

Kentucky Final Four
Kevin C. Cox

Traditional college basketball powers Kentucky and Kansas each won regional finals on Sunday to join Ohio State and Louisville in the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans next weekend. Here’s a recap of Sunday’s regional final games:

South Regional

Kentucky 82 — Baylor 70

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 19 points and Anthony Davis had 18 points 11 rebounds and six blocks, as Kentucky beat Baylor 82-70 on Sunday in the South Regional final in Atlanta. The decisive victory allowed the top-seeded Wildcats (36-2) to advance to the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans next Saturday. Kentucky will play in-state rival Louisville — led by former Wildcats’ head coach Rick Pitino — with the winner heading to the national title game on April 2.

Kentucky went on an early 16-0 run and led by 20 at the half, as the third-seeded Bears (30-8) struggled to match the Wildcats’ athleticism. Baylor cut the Kentucky lead to 10 with just under a minute to play, but the Bears were unable to get any closer.

Quincy Acy led Baylor with 22 points, while teammate Pierre Jackson scored 21 points in a losing effort.

Terrence Jones added 12 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals for Kentucky, which is making its second consecutive trip to the Final Four and 15th overall. The Wildcats are seeking their first national title since 1998, while head coach John Calipari is pursuing his first-ever national championship.

Midwest Regional

Kansas 80 — North Carolina 67

Tyshawn Taylor had 22 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals and Kansas beat North Carolina and former Jayhawks’ head coach Roy Williams 80-67 on Sunday in the Midwest Regional final in St. Louis. With the victory, second-seeded Kansas (31-6) advanced to the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans next Saturday. The Jayhawks will face Ohio State for the right to play for the NCAA title on April 2.

A fast-paced first half saw the teams deadlocked 47-47 at halftime, but Elijah Johnson led Kansas out to a quick start after the break. Ahead 68-67, the Jayhawks pulled away from the top-seeded Tar Heels (32-6) by scoring the final 12 points of the game. Johnson had 10 points, five assists and four boards for Kansas, while teammate Thomas Robinson added 18 points and nine rebounds.

James Michael McAdoo’s 15 points led North Carolina, which played without injured point guard Kendall Marshall, who broke his wrist in a win over Creighton last Sunday. Stilman White, Marshall’s replacement, had four points and seven assists against Kansas. Tyler Zeller added 12 points and six rebounds for the Tar Heels, who had no field goals over the last 5:46 of the game.

The Jayhawks are heading to their second Final Four under head coach Bill Self and 14th overall. Kansas and Self won the national championship in 2008.

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