2011-2012 Kentucky Basketball “What If”
Picking up after winning our 9th National Championship by beating Ohio St in the 2011 Championship Game.
Moving in to the season, Kentucky found themselves once again “reloading”. We were set to return two seniors, Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins and sophomore Doron Lamb. Plus adding a bevy of talent with new freshmen, Marquis Teague, Micheal Kidd Gilchres, Kyle Wiltjer and Anthony Davis (he grew almost a foot in his senior year, trust me, you’ll hear that non stop) and also adding junior transfer Royce White from Minnesota (yes, I know).
PG: Marques Teague
SG: DeAndre Liggins
PF: Royce White
C: Anthony Davis
Bench: Lamb, Miller, Teague, Wiltjer, Hood, Vargas, Beckham
Regular Season: Kentucky started the season on fire, winning their first several games easily and beating Kansas in the first ever, Championship Classic. Kentucky rounded out Non Conference play undefeated, winning two close games, beating UNC on an Anthony Davis block and beating Indiana with Liggins blocking IU game winner. Kentucky would go on to breeze through the SEC season.
Entering the SEC Tournament, Kentucky looked sluggish as they complete the perfect season by beating LSU, Florida and Vanderbilt, to enter the tournament at 34-0.
Kentucky was awarded the #1 Overall Seed and looking like the best team in the country. Teague starting coming into his own as post season approached, Liggins one of the best defensive player in the country. MKG and AD looking to go 1 & 2 in the upcoming draft, while White handled all the scoring. Lamb, Miller and Wiljer rounded out the rotation.
Round 1: WKU
Kentucky started Tournament play beating up on instate school WKU, game was never in question. UK won 88-60
Round 2: Washington
The second round matched up UK vs #8 Washington, who snuck in on the bubble on the back on dominate play by sophomore Terrence Jones. Kentucky jumped out to a big lead early and ended Washington’s run with a 86-72 win.
Sweet 16: Indiana
Sweet 16 matched up a great regular season rematch and basketball rivals. Indiana freshman savior, Cody Zeller, wanted revenge on AD. The first half, was reminiscent of the first match up, but Davis and Teague dominate second half led to Kentucky winning 108-80.
Elite 8: Duke
Kentucky vs Duke. Elite 8. 20 years after the Laettiner shot. However, this anniversary was different… Hill and Lattiner wasn’t walking through that door. Kentucky wins 92-72.
Final Four: Louisville
Dream Game 2. Kentucky was the best team all season and Louisville was one of the hottest. A great game in New Orleans saw AD putting up a triple double in a 72-58 win to advance to the championship game.
Championship Game: North Carolina
A championship game for the ages. Epic matchups up at ever turn:
Teague vs Marshall
Liggins vs Bullock
MKG vs Barnes
White vs Henson
AD vs Zeller
Miller vs McAdoo
Lamb vs Strickland
Wiljer vs Hairston
Back and fourth for 35 min, every player playing the best they could. Finally, Kentucky’s talent takes over and they pull away. Kentucky wins it’s their 3rd straight and 10th overall. 78-72. Finishing 40-0
Liggins and Miller graduate. AD, MKG and White all enter the NBA Draft.
Anthony Davis: New Orleans Hornets (#1)
Micheal Kidd Gilchrist: Charolette Bobcats (#2)
Royce White: Milwaukee Bucks (#14)
DeAndre Liggins: Portland Trailblazers (#41)
Darius Miller: New Orleans Hornets (#46)
Next up: 2013