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From the Pressbox:'s March Madness list and the '78 Cats

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Joe B. Hall received some long overdue recognition last month with his induction in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame but his 1978 national championship team was not so fortunate. In conjunction with the upcoming 75th anniversary of the Final Four, the NCAA has come up with a list of the most memorable teams, players and moments and the '78 Cats were mostly ignored.

It's impossible to please everyone in an exercise like this so I can empathize with the criticism likely to come to the NCAA staffers who compiled these lists, with help from some media folks. Still, I'd love to hear some reasons why at particular Kentucky team got so little attention.

Jack Givens made the list of 75 players but his 41-point masterpiece against Duke in the title game didn't make the cut of 35 memorable moments. And he and his teammates were not among the 25 teams singled out as the all-time best (these lists can be viewed at and fans will get a chance to help pare them down for recognition at the 2013 Final Four).

Let's start with "The Goose." He made 18-of-27 field-goal attempts en route to the second-highest-scoring performance in championship game history. Givens bursts into the middle of the lane single-handidly ripped Duke's vaunted 2-3 zone to shreds.

To put someone on the list, it's only right to offer a suggestion or two for elimination. I'd offer up Rumeal Robinson's game-clinching free throws in the 1989 finale. Big shots, yes, but it hardly rivals what Givens did on the same stage. Or how about taking off Andre Turner's two buzzer-beaters in 1985? Clutch shots for sure and they propelled Memphis to the Final Four, where the Tigers lost to Villanova. I'd argue Givens' 41 points easily tops either.

Now, for the case for putting the '78 team on the list. Let's start with the 30-2 record and a national ranking that never slipped below third. And on the way to the title, each of the Wildcats' wins came against a top 20 team (No. 15 Florida State, No. 19 Miami, No. 4 Michigan State, No. 5 Arkansas and No. 7 Duke). And the Michigan State team that Kentucky defeated was led by Magic Johnson, who guided the Spartans to the championship the following season.

And let's talk numbers. The hyper-efficient Cats hit 54 percent of their field goal attempts and shot 76 percent at the free throw line.

Again, to put the '78 Kentucky team on the list of all-time greats, we need suggestions for which squads they could replace and I'll again offer two: 2004 UConn and 1993 North Carolina. Both lost more games and neither was anywhere near as dominant during their seasons or faced competition that was as stiff.

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