It’s a tale of two teams from last season’s Final Four. The Louisville Cardinals and the Kentucky Wildcats, two of the most bitter rivals in college basketball due to the close proximity of the two campuses and the constant interaction of the two schools’ fan-bases, met in the Final Four last season, with Louisville finding defeat as Kentucky marched to the national championship. This season, both teams started things off in the top of the NCAA rankings, and then things changed from there. Louisville is the number one seed in the NCAA Tournament; defending national champions Kentucky have earned the top spot in the NIT.
“I’m really disappointed we didn’t make the NCAA tournament, but we are going to use this time to make us better,” Wildcats coach John Calipari said Sunday night. “We had our chances, but I’m not going to stop. It’s a great lesson for the future of our program and a humbling experience for me as a coach.”
Kentucky is only the 20th national championship team to fail to make the NCAA tournament the next season. Kentucky also failed to make the NCAA tournament after their 1978 championship, Louisville did the same after their 1986 championship, and 2009 champs North Carolina also failed to make the NCAAs after losing their entire starting lineup. Both teams from the 1979 (Michigan State and Indiana State) and 2007 championship games (Florida and Ohio State) failed to crack the tournament line-up the next season.
The Kansas Jayhawks, Gonzaga Zags, and Indiana Hoosiers were also number one seeds in their respective regions.
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