It’s all come down to this. No #1 seeds are in San Antonio in this year’s edition of March Madness Simulated. Instead we have #3 Baylor, #4 Louisville, #2 Ohio State, and #2 Kansas. Who will be crowned our simulated champion? Find out after the jump.
#3 Baylor vs. #4 Louisville
Louisville started as the brighter of the two teams in a low-scoring first half. With 5 mins before the break the Cardinals held an 18-13 lead, but went into halftime without making a single field goal as Baylor went on a 14-2 surge to take a 27-20 lead. Things would not improve in the 2nd half as Louisville again with another 5 minute drought, this time without a point and Baylor had no problem breaking the game open. Their 35-28 lead was now a 47-28 whitewash that just grew and grew and grew until it topped 30. The final insult was Cory Jefferson’s meaningless tip-in at the buzzer to give Baylor their 30 point victory. Louisville were thoroughly humiliated, shot just 35%, committed 19 turnovers, and were outrebounded by 8. Baylor is through to the final! Baylor 72 Louisville 42
#2 Ohio State vs. #2 Kansas
Much like the earlier game, Ohio State got off to a “better” start in another low-scoring dross of a 1st half. The Buckeyes did have a 4 minute scoreless drought at one point and lost their 5 point lead, but closed out the half well enough to find themselves near even with Kansas at 28-27 Jayhawks. In a very lively 2nd half, however, Ohio State would not lie down and the teams would either tie or trade leads on multiple occasions. Kansas looked to have pulled away with 4:23 left and sporting a 63-56 advantage, but Ohio State scored the next 4 pts with 2:31 left. Jared Sullinger, who scored 17 pts and grabbed 12 rebounds, cut the deficit to 3, but all hopes of a comeback were dashed when Tyshawn Taylor buried a three to double Kansas’ lead and start a 7-0 run to put away the Buckeyes once and for all. It’s an all Big-XII final coming up! Kansas 71 Ohio State 63
National Championship Game
#2 Kansas vs. #3 Baylor
Kansas got things started with a nice 19-11 lead in the opening 8 minutes, including 3 three-pointers. Baylor would go on a run of their own and soon evened things up with under 5 minutes left in the 1st half, and Brady Heslip gave the Bears their first lead of the night at 3:55 with his 19 ft jumpshot. They closed out the half on a 14-4 spurt and had all the momentum going into the locker room with an impressive 44-35 halftime lead.
The tides completely turned in the 2nd half as Baylor would have one of the worst offensive performances ever (just marginally better than Butler’s turgid 2nd half showing last year). In the first 4 1/2 minutes Kansas quickly tied things up at 46-46 and with 9:05 left Elijah Johnson scored the go-ahead bucket to give Bill Self’s squad a 55-53 lead. What would ensue was unprecedented and handed Kansas the title. Baylor missed their next 6 shots, 2 free-throws, and turned it over 3 times over the proceeding 7 minutes. That’s right, Kansas went on a 19-0 run as Baylor just had a meltdown for the ages. And that fatal drought meant Kansas is your 2012 March Madness Simulated Champion! Kansas 74 Baylor 57
Thomas Robinson (21 pts, 11 rebs, 2 blocks) is the game and tournament MOP.
NATIONAL CHAMPION: Kansas
So there you have it. Pick Kansas. Thanks to everyone for reading and enjoy March Madness under the watchful eye of your boss.