Football teams and basketball teams are hard to compare. But ironically, this year's Auburn football team and Kentucky basketball team are ditto.
Both teams "Started from that bottom" and ultimately reached the top with spectacular finishes and astonishing plays. Both teams were laden with underclassmen. Both teams had their star player -- Nick Marshall for Auburn and Aaron Harrison for Kentucky -- arrive during the summer. And both teams seemed to be destined.
The similarities are remarkable, and even their respective coach mentalities relate. John Calipari and Gus Malzahn. Both eccentric. One and done or no huddle. Chalk it up any way you'd like, and you'll see the similarities. Immediate success, poised, and sharp. They both are all of the above and that might be great reasoning to why their teams are so good.
You remember Auburn vs. Georgia, right? Nick Marshall, 4th and 18, long pass, deflection, history. And oh yeah, you also remember Auburn vs. Alabama, right? Chris Davis, one second, kickoff return, touchdown, and yet again, history. Both games were spectacular, both games ended in walk-off fashion, and both paved the way to the national title.
Now think back to a week ago. You watched Kentucky play Louisville, right? Julius Randle, pass to Aaron Harrison, three, money. And then you had to have watched Kentucky play Michigan last Saturday, right? Clock winding down, Aaron Harrison, three, and yet again money. Kentucky seemed destined to get to the national title as they advanced to the Final Four to face Wisconsin, last night.
The game was spectacular. Everyone knew Wisconsin and Kentucky would be fun to watch. Such contrasting styles: seniors on one side and freshman another, two polar opposites in coaches. You just knew it would come down to the wire, you just knew.
And boy did it ever.
Kentucky battled, and with it tied at 71 with about 30 seconds left, Andrew Harrison for Kentucky fouled Wisconsin's Traveon Jackson on a three and sent him to the line. Jackson converted 2 of the 3 free throws and then Kentucky had a shot to tie.
You, me, and everyone in the world watching knew who would take the shot: Aaron Harrison.
The clock ticked down and Andrew Harrison drove the lane. The clock ticked and ticked, and Harrison kicked it out to Poythress, who "One-more'd" it to guess who, Aaron Harrison.
And it wasn't just that Harrison had the ball, but it was that he was in the exact same spot he'd been in when he put the dagger in Michigan a week ago.
The clocked ticked and ticked and Harrison pulled it. The ball floated and looked like it'd hit the back rim, but nope, shooters touch. It went in. And Kentucky won the game.
Ironic, isn't it? Two teams, two coaches, two players, both in the SEC. It's truly remarkable. But for Kentucky to do what Auburn couldn't, they'll need Harrison for the 3rd time, for a chance to win the national title.