The Big East will not be the conference home of 2012 NCAA men’s basketball tournament champion. The Louisville Cardinals’ second-half run was not enough to match the Kentucky Wildcats in last night’s national semifinal game in the Superdome in New Orleans. Kentucky won 69-61, eliminating the last of nine Big East teams in the tournament.
Though the Cardinals did not fold against the talented Kentucky roster, the pressure of the situation resulted in a poor shooting performance -- 34.8 percent in field goals compared with 57.1 percent for the Wildcats. Louisville kept the game interesting to the end by outrebounding Kentucky 40-33, including 19-6 in offensive rebounds.
The Cardinals, who overcame late-season struggles to win the Big East Tournament Championship, finish the season with a 30-10 record. The top-ranked Wildcats (37-2) move on to face the Kansas Jayhawks in the tournament final Monday night.