College Basketball

more stats

74
Final 12Score
Kentucky363874
Wisconsin403373
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Wrap | Box
73


Kentucky (28-10) vs. Wisconsin (30-7)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, April 5, 8:49 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: AT&T Stadium (77,122) -- Arlington, Texas. Television: TBS. NCAA Tournament Record: Kentucky 115-46, Wisconsin 29-18. Series Record: Kentucky leads, 3-1.

GAME NOTES: The Kentucky Wildcats have made an improbable run to their 16th Final Four, and they will tangle with the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday night for the right to play for the national championship.

As the No. 8 seed out of the Midwest Region, Kentucky's road to Arlington, Texas hasn't been an easy one. Coach John Calipari's club opened NCAA Tournament action with a 56-49 win over Kansas State, and followed that with a 78-76 triumph against previously undefeated and No. 1 seed Wichita State. A rematch (from earlier this season) with intrastate rival and defending national champ Louisville resulted in a 74-69 victory, and then came a 75-72 thriller versus Michigan in last Sunday's Elite Eight matchup.

The last three teams the Wildcats have faced were all part of the 2013 Final Four.

Overall, Kentucky has won six of its last seven games, the lone loss coming in the SEC Tournament title tilt to Florida (61-60), and the Wildcats bring an impressive 115-46 NCAA Tournament record into this contest. UK, which is actually appearing in its third Final Four in the last four years, has played in 11 national championship games, winning eight of them. The 'Cats last raised the trophy in 2012 when they beat Kansas, 67-59.

Wisconsin is appearing in its third Final Four, the first since 2000, and this is coach Bo Ryan's first trip to the national semifinals after winning four Division III national crowns while at UW-Platteville. Ryan's Badgers, the No. 2 seed out of the West Region, have made the NCAA Tournament in each one of Ryan's 13 years at the helm, and they punched their ticket to the Final Four by taking out American University (75-35), Oregon (85-77), Baylor (69-52) and top-seeded Arizona (64-63, OT) in succession.

Wisconsin, which has one national title to its credit (1941), has a NCAA Tournament record of 29-18, and the team has won 13 of its last 15 games overall -- the two losses coming to Big Ten foes Nebraska and Michigan State, the latter of which occurred in the conference tournament championship game.

Kentucky owns a 3-1 series advantage over Wisconsin, and this is the first meeting between the two since the Wildcats claimed a 63-57 win during the 2003 Sweet 16.

Kentucky is a very young team, starting five freshmen including the star of last Sunday's win over Michigan, guard Aaron Harrison. He was asked after the game about what it takes to knock off the No. 1, 2 and 4 seeds en route to the Final Four.

"We showed a lot of toughness. We're just a group of tough, young guys, doesn't matter about the age or anything anymore. We just try to go out and fight and keep our heads down and swing the whole game, and we just fight so hard."

Aaron Harrison went scoreless for more than three-fourths of the game against Michigan, but got hot late as he nailed four 3-pointers in the last eight minutes, including the game-winner with only seconds remaining in regulation. In addition to Harrison's 12 points, Julius Randle (16 points, 11 rebounds), James Young (13 points) and Marcus Lee (10 points, eight boards) all finished in double figures. The team as a whole drained 53.4 percent of its field-goal attempts, which included a stellar 7-of-11 showing from beyond the arc. A 35-24 edge on the glass certainly aided the cause, as the game was hotly- contested throughout.

Randle, who logged his national-best 24th double-double in the Michigan game, was named a Third-Team All-American by the AP as he is averaging 15.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He is the fifth UK freshman coached by Calipari to receive All-America accolades. Other double-digit scorers for the Wildcats include Young (14.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg), Aaron Harrison (14.1 ppg) and Andrew Harrison (11.0 ppg, 3.9 apg). Leading shot blocker Willie Cauley-Stein (106 blocks, 6.1 rpg) is nursing an ankle injury, and is listed as doubtful this weekend.

Wisconsin had its own star in the West Regional final against Arizona, as 7- foot junior Frank Kaminsky logged a double-double consisting of a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds. Despite shooting a mere 4-of-14 from the floor, Traevon Jackson was the only other Badger to reach double digits in scoring, as he tallied 10 points, while also handing out five assists. As a collective unit, UW hit just 39.3 percent of its total shots. although it went 4-of-6 from the field in the overtime period to help secure the thrilling one-point victory.

Kaminsky (14.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 64 blocks), who leads the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots for the season, was asked after the Arizona game to describe his emotions.

"I can't explain it, actually. This is like nothing else I've ever felt before. We've all played basketball our whole lives and we've all dreamed of going to the Final Four. To actually accomplish that is something I can't put into words."

In addition to the effort put forth by Kaminsky, Ben Brust (12.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg), Sam Dekker (12.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Jackson (10.7 ppg, 4.0 apg) have all produced at different times for a team that is scoring more this season (73.5 ppg) than it has in the recent past, while also playing the kind of solid defense (63.7 ppg) typically associated with a Ryan-coached squad.

Kentucky is playing with house money at this point, and you can bet Calipari will have his young, athletic squad going for broke. As for Wisconsin, it plays fundamentally sound basketball, making very few mistakes, while capitalizing on the miscues turned in by its opponent.

Expect the Badgers to prevail in another close game, affording them the opportunity to play for the national title on Monday night.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wisconsin 69, Kentucky 67

04/05 10:33:56 ET

Other Stories

  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Arkansas at Florida

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Waste Management Phoenix Open

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Big 10: Michigan at Michigan State

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. St. Louis

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at NY Rangers

    Saturday at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
NBA
Final
ORL 100
MIL 115
Final
IND 103
NYK 82
Final
MEM 99
DEN 69
3rd
LAL 69
CHI 56
 
Final
PROV 83
DEP 72
Final
RUTG 51
MSU 71
Final
ARMY 71
BU 67
 
Final
RFLSH 75
BRY 68
 
Final
MERC 75
CHAT 72
 
Final
LIU 67
CCST 55
 
Final
TOWS 74
COC 70
 
Final
UMASS 66
DAY 64
Final
FUR 59
ETST 55
 
Final
ODU 71
FIU 56
Final
RMU 87
FD 65
 
Final
CHAR 86
FATL 61
Final
LIB 53
HIGH 72
 
Final
UNF 86
KNST 67
 
Final
FLGC 78
LIP 62
 
Final
OSU 80
MD 56
Final
Terriers 73
MNTER 67
 
Final
STET 85
NKENTUCKY 75
 
Final
WAGN 75
SHU 64
 
Final
GMAS 68
STLU 60
 
Final
JVU 65
USCU 78
 
Final
VMI 70
WCU 85
 
Final
LATU 69
WKENT 56
Final
UNCG 42
WOFF 58
 
Final
DET 93
YOUNG 87
 
Final
GSOUT 83
APP 46
 
Final
TENNM 81
EILL 51
 
Final
GHND 64
HC 54
 
Final
CIN 70
UCONN 58
Final
NDST 61
DEN 54
 
Final
SD 55
MAST 66
 
Final
UWMIL 71
ILLCH 65
 
Final
BEL 103
JVST 82
 
Final
SMISS 54
MARS 69
Final
TXSA 69
MTST 58
Final
PETE 49
RIDE 58
 
Final
SEMIZ 61
SIUE 75
 
Final
TENST 64
TENT 56
 
Final
NDAK 60
WEBER 67
 
Final
SALA 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
ARKST 65
ARKLR 75
 
Final
TROY 55
LAMON 58
 
Final
TXARL 74
UGST 88
 
Final
MURST 85
EKENT 78
 
Final
NCOL 79
IDST 76
 
Final
MIZZ 53
KENT 69
Final
GONZ 64
PORT 46
Final
UTEP 71
UAB 69
Final
GRCN 78
UMKC 57
 
Final
WLVRN 78
CHIST 62
 
4th
USC 73
COL 73
 
2nd
UCI 65
CPSL 57
 
2nd
CSNO 68
HAW 78
 
Final
PAC 43
PEPP 50
 
2nd
SDU 54
SCU 45
 
2nd
UCD 70
UCSB 64
 
2nd
UCLA 60
UTAH 50
 
Final
PORST 54
MONT 73
 
Final
SACST 75
MNTST 59
 
2nd
CSFU 52
LBSU 46
 
2nd
GAELS 50
LMU 42
 
1st
WASU 37
CAL 37
 
Half
BYU 34
USF 30
 
Final
NYI 2
BOS 5
Final
NYR 0
MON 1
Final
PHI 5
WIN 2
Final
TOR 1
ARI 3
Final
FLA 3
CLB 2
Final
TAM 5
DET 1
Final
STL 5
NAS 4
Final
CAL 0
MIN 1
Final
EDM 3
BUF 2
 
2nd Intermission
SJS 6
ANA 1