South Regional wrapup: Cal's Wildcats rolled right through to New Orleans.
ATLANTA -- The region that had the biggest early upset -- you didn't forget Lehigh over Duke already, did you? -- turned out to be the most predictable considering Kentucky won four games by an average of 13.8 points to advance to the Final Four.
That's four wins by an average of 13.8 points.
Nobody played the Wildcats closer than 12 points.
So it is with that sort of dominance that Kentucky will enter Saturday's national semifinal against Louisville. John Calipari's team might lose down there at the Superdome, I guess. But they did nothing on their way to claiming this South Region title to suggest that's a likely outcome.
Regional MVP: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist only scored 11 total points in Kentucky's first two NCAA tournament games, but he played at another level here in Atlanta. The 6-foot-7 freshman got 24 points and 10 rebounds in a Sweet 16 win over Indiana, then dropped 19 points and five rebounds in an Elite Eight win over Baylor. Now I want you to remember this next sentence, print it and save it if necessary: Any general manager who takes any prospect other than Kentucky's Anthony Davis ahead of MKG will be making a mistake in June's NBA Draft.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky)
- Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
- Quincy Acy (Baylor)
- Christian Watford (Indiana)
- Cody Zeller (Indiana)
Game to forget: The Iowa State-Connecticut game was supposed to be a Round of 64 battle that propelled the Huskies into a showdown with top-seeded Kentucky so that the nation would get Jim Calhoun vs. John Calipari at least one last time. So much for that. The Cyclones instead jumped to a 20-point lead in the first half and cruised to a 77-64 victory that might represent the last time we see Calhoun coach in the NCAA tournament.
Biggest disappointment: The Duke Blue Devils were the No. 2 seed in the South who became just the sixth No. 2 seed in history to lose to a No. 15 seed. They were undone by C.J. McCollum and his 30 points and made the nation pretty much forget that, just hours earlier, Missouri had also lost as a No. 2 seed. So Frank Haith owes Mike Krzyzewski a Thank You card. Or something.
Best individual performance in a losing effort: Royce White took 12 shots, made nine and finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists in Iowa State's 87-71 loss to Kentucky in the Round of 32. The effort was enough to solidify White's place in the first round of June's NBA Draft, which is why it was no surprise when the 6-foot-8 forward subsequently announced he's leaving Iowa State after one season.
Most memorable moments
- North Carolina fans congratulating Lehigh's Brett Reed on Twitter after the Mountain Hawks beat Duke in the Round of 64. Seems those in Chapel Hill liked that moment as much as any moment that happened in the East Region.
- Shaka Smart fist-pumping after VCU's Round of 64 win over Wichita State that further legitimized the Rams as a good team and their coach as a great coach. That he subsequently rejected a lucrative offer to become Illinois' next coach makes the moment sweeter.
- Homer and Janet Drew sitting inside the Georgia Dome watching their son, Scott Drew, coach in the Elite Eight. Both Homer and Janet have battled cancer this year. They still managed to drive from their home in Indiana to experience Baylor's second Elite Eight in three seasons.
- Anthony Davis crashing to the court and clutching his left knee in the second half of Kentucky's Elite Eight win over Baylor. He's fine, as you know. But for a moment more than 24,000 fans were hushed and concerned inside the Georgia Dome.
- John Calipari sitting on a stage after beating Baylor in the Elite Eight, rubbing his eyes, clearly exhausted, trying to convince everybody that Louisville is nothing more than the next team Kentucky has to play even though he knows nobody's buying it.
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