Each Wednesday here at Cat Scratches, we're going to take a look back at the latest week's news in UK Athletics from around the web.
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Men's basketball: Kentucky's run to the title, much like the season, was all about Kentucky (Greg Doyel, CBSSports.com)
It was about Kentucky. It was always about Kentucky, into January when the Wildcats jetted to the top of the SEC and stayed there, into February when Anthony Davis jetted to the top of the national player of the year conversation and stayed there, and into March when someone else won the SEC tournament. Any idea who won it? Nah, I bet most of you don't recall, because it wasn't news that Vanderbilt won the SEC title game. It was news that Kentucky lost it.
Men's basketball: UK asked for Glory, Calipari delivered (Dana O'Neil, ESPN.com)
He was right. Kentucky is, indeed, a tremendous machine.
And Calipari knew it. He knew he had the best thoroughbreds in the barn, an amalgamation whose talent is only outdone by its unexpected unselfishness.
Yet for a week, at least publicly, the Wildcats coach has stubbornly insisted that winning a national championship would do nothing for him, that his first trophy wouldn't rubber-stamp a career 30 arduous years in the making.
Men's basketball: Wildcats live up to expectations (Gary Parrish, CBSSports.com)
Capping a season that had a feeling of inevitability, Kentucky finished with a flourish, beating Kansas 67-59 in the NCAA championship game Monday night.
OK, so maybe it was the last time we'll see many of those future millionaires in blue and white. At least they'll go out as heroes after bringing home an eighth national championship to Big Blue and giving John Calipari the one missing piece to his resume.
Mens' basketball: Davis shows value, dominance even in poor shooting night (Jeff Goodman, CBSSports.com)
This, though, was his signature moment and embodied what he has been all about since his arrival in Lexington. In what will likely be his final collegiate contest, Davis was unquestionably the most dominant player on the floor for the first 20 minutes.
Without scoring a single point.
"It didn't matter to me," Kentucky's endlessly long and talented 6-foot-10 freshman said moments after winning the national title. "I told the guys, 'I'll defend and rebound. You score the points.'"
Men's basketball: Lamb finishes season with lion-like effort (Andy Katz, ESPN.com)
Men's basketball: Kentucky celebrates title with fans (Associated Press)
Lamb was the most offensive of any player wearing white Monday night.
He finished with 22 points, making three 3s and becoming the type of player who wins titles -- the one who is left open and seems to be the least discussed during all the pregame talk.
"You saw it,'' said Calipari Monday night. "At shootaround he was unbelievable. I told him and the team that he was going to have 25, you watch. And he went about it the right way and prepared to play great and he did.''
It was a joyous curtain call for a team led by an immensely talented group of freshmen and sophomores. The NBA likely beckons next for many of them.
Each team member was introduced to loud ovations as players and coaches took the stage in the middle of the arena. Senior Darius Miller, a basketball net draped around his neck, toted the NCAA championship trophy to a table. Coach John Calipari pumped his fist and raised his arms in triumph as he basked in the cheers.
Baseball: Kentucky baseball earns first-ever No. 1 ranking (Lexington Herald-Leader)
"It is an honor to be ranked No. 1, but no one gives out regional bids for where you are ranked on April 2," UK Coach Gary Henderson said. "We are just three weekends into the toughest 10-week grind in college baseball, and our guys have really enjoyed competing. We have a lot of things to improve on and can't wait to get out to Cliff Hagan on Wednesday for a five-game homestand."
Former Wildcats making headlines
As Rod Thorn waited outside Cleveland's locker room for coach Byron Scott to finish addressing his team, the Sixers general manager had a good idea what was being said in the postgame speech: How could the Cavs let recently-benched Sixers guard Jodie Meeks get a career-high 31 points.
"I don't think anyone in the building expected Jodie to go for 31," Thorn said. "But he played great tonight, didn't he? Darned near broke the game open himself. But I tell you what. We'll take that every night the rest of the way.
Blanton in good form in final spring tuneup (Jay Greenberg, MLB.com)
"Missing a big chunk of last year makes you feel better to go out to the mound again," Blanton said after retiring the first 10 Pirates batters Monday in the Phillies' 4-3 win. "You have a different sense about yourself, a little extra pep in your step in appreciation of being healthy."
DeMarcus Cousins scores 41 points, but Kings lose to Suns (Jason Jones, McClatchy Newspapers)
Cousins scored 41 points Tuesday night, but the Kings couldn't overcome late-game mistakes or Steve Nash's brilliance in losing to the Phoenix Suns, 109-100, at Power Balance Pavilion.
Cousins had his way against the Suns, shooting 16 of 25 and grabbing 12 rebounds. Those numbers look good in the box score but not as good as a win would have.
News from UKAthletics.com
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