Two Big 12 teams faced top-level basketball programs in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA tournament this weekend. Second-seed Kansas and third-seed Baylor entered as technical underdogs in their match ups — though Kansas was given the slight edge by Las Vegas due to injuries on the Tar heel squad — and both teams put up a fight, but the results were mixed.
Baylor falls to star-studded Kentucky
Baylor senior Quincy Acy vowed to stand up to the tournament-seasoned Wildcats when the two teams clashed in the Elite 8. But there is a reason Kentucky has 15 Final Four appearances, and Acy and his Bears learned that the hard way Sunday.
The top seeded Kentucky advanced to the Final Four for the second year in a row on the heels of an easy 82-70 victory over third-seeded Baylor. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 19 points and Anthony Davis added 18 points and 11 rebounds. Forward Terrence Jones added to the mix with numbers in every line of the stat box, including 12 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three blocks.
Though Baylor jumped out to an early 10-5 lead, with Acy helping lead the charge emotionally, Kentucky outscored the Bears 42-22 in the first half. Acy led Baylor with 22 points and eight boards, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the powerhouse program with a roster full of future
“[Kentucky] a great team,” Acy said. “They’ve got some good dudes down there.”
With as storied a program as Kentucky’s, a mere Final Four appearance isn’t enough to satisfy the championship hungry Wildcats. They will take on in-state rival Louisville in the semifinals on Saturday.
“I’m not satisfied yet,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. And he probably won’t be unless the Wildcats get to cut down the championship nets and hoist
Taylor, Jayhawks down injury-plagued Tar heels
Tyshawn Taylor continued his magical senior campaign with one of the biggest performances in school history.
His 22 points, six rebounds and five steals helped pace the Jayhawks past the North Carolina Tar heels, 80-67. Kansas will head back to the Final Four, its first trip to the semifinals since 2007-2008 when the Jayhawks won it all. Kansas coach Bill Self was only 1-3 in the Elite 8 until this victory.
Kansas won this one in the second half by buckling down on defense. Entering the second period tied at 47, the Jayhawks limited North Carolina to only 20 points, forcing the Tar heels to take outside jump shots that they just couldn’t get to fall.
North Carolina was without Kendall Marshall, who injured his wrist early in the tournament. Marshall’s absence was missed as he was averaging nearly 15 points on 58 percent shooting over his last six games.
Taylor and the Jayhawks will take on Ohio State in the Final Four on Saturday in a battle of second seeded teams.
Printed on Monday, March 26, 2012 as: Kansas moves on, Baylor falls in Elite 8