(NEW ORLEANS) — The Kentucky Wildcats are the class of the Bluegrass State. The top overall seed in the tournament played that way Saturday as they beat cross-state rival Louisville, 69-61.
The victory sends Kentucky (37-2) to the National Championship game for the first time since they won it all in 1998.
Louisville didn’t go down without a fight. Down 13 early in the second half, Louisville (30-10) went on a 15-3 run to tie the game at 49, before Kentucky started to gel again.
“I have a team that’s had teams come at them all year,” coach John Calipari said, “and they responded again today.”
Kentucky will seek their programs eighth championship Monday, when it takes on Kansas.
Copyright 2012 ABC Sports Radio
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire
Jill Martin, CNN