Missed free throws cost UK national title

By Kyle Lovern

April 8, 2014

Making foul shots are so important to winning basketball games. It cost Kentucky in the national title.

They could have won it all.

However, when you go 14-23 from the free throw line (many of those front end of the one-and-one) – you’ll usually get beat.

When you only lose by six, those missed foul shots, uncontested, from 15 feet away from the basket, loom very big indeed.

I admit it, I never gave UK a chance to get as far as they did in the NCAA Tournament.

I’m sure Wildcat fans were disappointed with the loss to UConn in the championship game.

You should be proud of how this young team improved and grew up late in the season.

Personally, I had them losing to Wichita State in my bracket. Then I thought they couldn’t get by Louisville - or Michigan – or Wisconsin. I even talked to one UK fan that had them getting beaten in the first round by Kansas State.

But, I became a believer of this talented group of freshmen. They used their skills to move through an extremely tough part of the bracket.

Give these freshmen and Coach John Calapari their due.

Congrats to all of my friends who are Wildcat friends. I know many of you believed and some may have even brought them all the way out in your office and online brackets. That’s because of diehard loyalty.

I guess you get the last laugh, even though they came up a little short.

I really thought an experienced Wisconsin would beat them in the semi-finals. The Badgers only missed one foul shot - set a record for free throws in the Final Four – but the one miss cost them.

Once again, it shows you how important free throws are in a game. If Jackson would have made 3-of-3 in those closing seconds, the game would have gone to overtime.

Aaron Harrison hit another big shot at the end. Like he did two other times in the tourney.

March Madness at its best.

It must have been destiny. But, it wasn’t in the cards for UK to win it all.

Now Cat fans will have to ponder which players will head to the NBA and which ones will stay in Lexington to play with the next great recruits Calapari brings into Lexington.

I’m sure Wildcat fans will have withdrawal symptoms until next November.

Time flies and next season will be here before you know it.

Be proud of your team and wear you Kentucky blue proudly.

I know you will.


Brittany Gould of Sissonville has been added to the WV roster for the upcoming Consol Energy All-Star game at Mingo Central to be held on Saturday, April 19. She helped the Indians make it to the championship game in the state tournament in Class AA.

… West Virginia senior center Asya Bussie has been named to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Honorable Mention All-America Team.

(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at klovern@civtasmedia.com or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or Twitter @KyleLovern)