Who knew that a 14-foot 'free' shot could be the difference between two national titles and 0?
Kentucky Basketball Head Coach John Calipari does.
It's been an all too familiar sight for him. His teams failing to win the big game due to poor free shooting down the stretch, once in 2011 and once in 2008 with Memphis. Labeling him a choke and bad coach.
This time it was different.
Kentucky shot 72 percent from the line. Calipari and his team gained something more than a eighth title, after their 67-59 victory over Kansas in Monday's NCAA championship game at the Superdome. They gained redemption.
Calipari had seen this before. Four years ago, it looked inevitable, his Memphis Tigers would win the 2008 national title game against Kansas. Memphis had built a 60-51 lead with just under 2:00 minutes remaining, but saw their lead taken away due to poor free throw shooting.
Kentucky led comfortably throughout the game, only to see an 18-point lead shrink to just six with just 1:11 remaining, eerily similar to the situation in previous battle against Bill Self in the title game. But instead of going 1-5 from the line in the last two minutes, Calipari's team sunk five straight free throws to end the game.