Stats & Info: John Calipari

UConn, UK meet in unlikely title game

April, 6, 2014
Apr 6
For the first time ever, a 7-seed and 8-seed will meet in the national championship. It’s the highest combined seed total in a title game.

The Connecticut Huskies are the first 7-seed ever to reach the national championship.

The Kentucky Wildcats are the third 8-seed since the tournament expanded in 1985 to reach the title game (2011 Butler, 1985 Villanova).

Villanova is the only 7-seed or lower to win the national championship.

UConn defeated the Florida Gators to reach its fourth national championship, all since 1999.

UConn was led by DeAndre Daniels, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds. He’s the first player with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in a national semifinal win since Syracuse’s Carmelo Anthony in 2003.

The loss was Florida’s second against UConn this season. The Gators are 0-2 against UConn and 36-1 against everyone else.

UConn is now 7-1 in Final Four games, the best win percentage for any team with at least three games in the Final Four.

Only one of UConn’s 14 made field goals in the second half came outside the paint.

Florida was outscored 9-0 in transition in the second half. The Gators didn’t have a single transition opportunity in the second half.

Florida had just three assists, the fewest by any team in a Final Four game since assists became official in 1983-84.

Scottie Wilbekin struggled when he was guarded by UConn’s starting backcourt. He was 0-for-5 on field goals when guarded by Ryan Boatright and turned it over on three of four plays when guarded by Shabazz Napier.

The Huskies were at their best with Terrence Samuel on the court. In 18 minutes with Samuel on the court, they outscored Florida by 15 points and had 11 more points than they had in 22 minutes with Samuel on the bench.

Kevin Ollie is the first coach to reach the national championship within his first two seasons as a Division I head coach since Indiana’s Mike Davis in 2002.

Kentucky defeated Wisconsin to reach its 12th national championship, tied with UCLA for the most all time (not including UCLA’s vacated appearance in 1980).

Kentucky freshman Aaron Harrison made a game-winning 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left, his third game-winning shot in the final minute in this NCAA tournament.

Aaron Harrison is 3-for-3 on game-tying and go-ahead 3-pointers in the final minute in the NCAA tournament after having zero such attempts in the regular season.

The Wildcats had 66 points from their freshmen, the most by a team’s freshmen in a Final Four game (Michigan had 61 in 1992).

John Calipari is now 18-2 in the NCAA tournament as Kentucky head coach.

Top stats to know: Louisville at Kentucky

December, 27, 2013
The John Calipari-Rick Pitino rivalry slightly favors Calipari in the total wins column of late.
What are the top stats to know for Saturday's Louisville-Kentucky matchup?

The history
The Wildcats have dominated the series recently, winning four of five matchups since John Calipari took over in Lexington. The only win for Rick Pitino's Cardinals in that span was last season's three-point home victory against an unranked Kentucky team.

Which head coach has bragging rights in their rivalry?


Each has won nine of the previous 18 meetings in college games.

But the rivalry is even closer than you think.

Both coaches have a 4-1 record as Kentucky’s head coach in head-to-head games.

And the rivalry is also even in the NBA. Each won three head-to-head games in the late 1990s, when Pitino was with the Celtics and Calipari was with the Nets.

Youth versus experience
Louisville returned 70 percent of its minutes and 75 percent of its scoring from last season's national championship team.

That's quite the contrast to Calipari's team. The Wildcats have have started five freshmen in four games this season, and 75 percent of Kentucky's total minutes have been played by freshmen.

For comparison's sake, freshmen played "only" 68.5 percent of the minutes during the 1991-92 season for the Fab Five Michigan team.

Frontcourt matchup
One of the key matchups in this game will be in the frontcourt, where the Wildcats’ ability to clean the offensive glass and convert those second chances into points could decide the outcome.

Kentucky leads all major-conference teams (American, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12) in second-chance points per game and leads Division I in offensive-rebound percentage. Louisville is not far behind.

The Wildcats feature a trio of big men that can crash the boards -- Alex Poythress, Julius Randle and Willie Cauley-Stein. Each has scored at least 30 points on offensive-rebound putbacks, making Kentucky the only major-conference team with three players that have put up those numbers.

Louisville has allowed only 9.3 second-chance points per game. In their only game against a top-25 team, the Cardinals held North Carolina to 12 second-chance points, one of the Tar Heels’ lowest outputs this season. Louisville has also been vulnerable in the paint, with almost half of its points allowed coming in that area.

Backcourt matchup
Kentucky also needs its young guards to be able to handle the swarming press and backcourt defense of Louisville if it wants to add to its recent run of success against its rival.

The Cardinals force turnovers on 26.6 percent of their opponents’ possessions, fourth-best in Division I, and average nearly 10 steals per game. Louisville takes advantage of those miscues, converting them into more than 21 points per game, which leads all major-conference teams.

Wildcats freshman point guard Andrew Harrison has struggled to hold onto the ball, coughing it up on nearly a quarter of his possessions. He turned the ball over a combined eight times in losses to Michigan State and North Carolina, and had a season-high five turnovers against Eastern Michigan.

The three primary guards -- the Harrison twins and James Young -- have been mostly ineffective as long-range shooters, making fewer than one-third of their 3-point attempts.

If the Wildcats cannot dominate on the boards and take advantage of their strength down low, it could be a long afternoon for Kentucky, which may not have the outside shooting to cope with Louisville’s aggressive perimeter defense.

Davis, Withey will host block party in final

April, 1, 2012
For the first time, all three Final Four games will be regular-season rematches. Kentucky beat Kansas, 75-65, at Madison Square Garden back on Nov. 15.

Monday’s national championship game will be the third meeting between the Wildcats and Jayhawks in the NCAA tournament. In 1999, Kentucky beat Kansas in the Round of 32, 92-88. Kansas won the other meeting in 2007, 88-76, also in the Round of 32.

Kentucky was the selection committee’s top overall seed, marking only the third time since 2004 — when the committee began ranking the four No. 1 seeds — that the top overall seed reached the title game. In 2005, Illinois lost in the final and the 2007 Florida Gators won the national championship.

Kansas head coach Bill Self won his first title four years ago, beating John Calipari’s Memphis Tigers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this will be the first time in exactly 50 years (and third time overall) that the national title game will feature a rematch between coaches who have previously met in the national title game.

In 1962, Cincinnati's Ed Jucker beat Ohio State's Fred Taylor for the second straight season. In 1953, Indiana's Branch McCracken beat Phog Allen of Kansas -- just as he had done in 1940.

There will be two AP First-Team, All-Americans on the court Monday: Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis and Kansas junior Thomas Robinson. Since seeding began in 1979, this will be only the fourth national championship game with two First-Team All-Americans on the court, and the first time since 1999 (Duke’s Elton Brand and Connecticut’s Richard Hamilton).

Davis, the AP Player of the Year, has blocked 11 shots in Kentucky's last two games. This season he has 180 blocked shots, two shy of Hassan Whiteside’s freshman single-season record set in 2009-10.

For the 2012 Men’s Basketball Championship, Davis has blocked 18 shots in the paint and altered another 23.

Davis also is one of only three players, along with Joakim Noah (2006) and Kevin Love (2008), to score at least 75 points, grab 50 rebounds and block at least 20 shots in a single NCAA tournament (since blocked shots became an official stat in 1985-86).

In this tournament, however, Davis has been outdone by Kansas’ Jeff Withey, who blocked a Final Four record seven shots against Ohio State. What’s more, Withey kept each of his blocked shots in bounds, and has kept all but 15 of his 136 blocks this season in bounds

Withey has blocked 27 shots in the 2012 NCAA tournament, two shy of the single-tournament record set by Noah in 2006.

Finally, if the Wildcats beat the No. 2 seeded Jayhawks, they will be the fourth straight team to win the national title without having played a No. 1 seed. From 1979 to 2008, only six teams won it all without having to play a No. 1 seed along the way.