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Kentucky363874
Wisconsin403373
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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

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
CHA 97
POR 105
Final
NCSU 84
RICH 72
Final
FLA 1
CAR 0
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
UCLA
 
Final
PHI 91
BRK 99
Final
ORL 96
GSW 111
Final
CHA 97
POR 105
Final
CLE 113
WAS 87
Final
DET 98
LAC 104
Final
DAL 109
NYK 102
Final
ATL 115
TOR 126
Final
MIN 86
MIL 103
Final
HOU 102
SAC 89
Final
OKC 97
UTA 82
Final
SAN 106
IND 100
Final
PHO 120
DEN 112
Final
LAL 93
MEM 99
7:30pm Tonight
TEXAM
LSU
7:30pm Tonight
TEX
TCU
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
FRES 64
MAR 68
Final
CHAT 61
RMU 46
Final
EMICH 68
ROCH 35
 
Final
MRGST 51
LIB 50
 
Final
HAMP 60
AMER 64
 
Final
BEL 78
DEN 57
Final
UMASS 79
NE 54
Final
JMU 79
SHU 72
 
Final
KNST 84
SAMF 71
 
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
CHAM 60
MIZZ 74
Final
CCAR 61
LAMON 48
Final
OKLA 75
UCLA 65
Final
ELON 65
UNF 72
 
Final
UWMIL 66
ORU 69
Final
WCU 66
CHIST 61
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
BYU 85
PURD 87
Final
EVAN 79
USF 72
Final
COL 71
GTDNS 75
 
Final
VERM 73
BRY 47
 
Final
OSU 91
CAMP 64
Final
LOU 45
CLST 33
Final
UCF 69
DAVID 95
Final
IONA 126
DELST 76
 
Final
OU 78
UGST 83
Final
TOWS 97
GOUCHER 43
 
Final
ND 81
GRAM 54
 
Final
YALE 82
LAF 60
 
Final
GWU 91
LONG 66
 
Final
VT 78
UMO 63
Final
WAKE 83
MNTER 49
 
Final
NAVY 67
PSUHARRIS 42
 
Final
NCSU 84
RICH 72
Final
MINN 61
STJ 70
Final
JVU 69
TRINBAPT 57
 
Final
YOUNG 66
UMKC 63
 
Final
UAB 43
WISC 72
Final
CORN 67
CAN 60
Final
WVU 103
VMI 72
Final
DEP 74
LEH 86
 
Final
UNT 67
MVSU 52
 
Final
MARS 68
MORE 77
Final
TCU 74
RAD 50
 
Final
SELA 86
TENT 65
 
Final
SMU 72
TXSOU 59
 
Final
UTAH 85
TXPA 48
Final
LMU 66
UCR 62
Final
SCAR 89
UNCA 75
 
Final
SD 86
WAYNEST 69
 
Final
PITT 70
KYST 47
Final
UWGB 59
FLGC 45
Final
IOWA 70
NILL 49
Final
ORST 69
AUB 71
Final
MONT 75
CARROLLMT 52
 
Final
SUTAH 64
EKENT 73
Final
NMST 78
FAM 33
 
Final
WYO 65
STET 41
 
Final
EWASH 81
NKENTUCKY 60
 
Final
IDST 57
WLVRN 60
 
Final
GEOR 66
UF 65
Final
GONZ 88
UGA 76
Final
NIOWA 61
NW 42
Final
CAL 72
CPSL 52
Final
UCD 77
UTST 70
Final
SDST 59
ARZ 61
Final
NDAK 75
ALAST 68
Final
CSNO 55
PORST 63
Final
AKAN 62
PAC 71
Final
OKST 73
TULSA 58
Final
COLST 76
MIZST 61
12:00pm Today
TENN
SCU
 
12:00pm Today
RMU
LAMON
 
1:00pm Today
BUT
OKLA
 
2:00pm Today
BRO
PEAY
 
2:00pm Today
UTEP
PRIN
 
2:30pm Today
CHAT
CCAR
 
2:30pm Today
RIU
KU
 
3:30pm Today
USCU
FIU
 
3:30pm Today
GEOR
WISC
 
4:00pm Today
USB
LIU
 
4:30pm Today
XAV
SDU
 
5:00pm Tonight
INDST
ILL
 
6:00pm Tonight
WRST
CSFU
 
6:00pm Tonight
STJOE
WKENT
 
6:30pm Tonight
RIDE
MSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
UCLA
 
8:30pm Tonight
WMICH
LBSU
 
8:30pm Tonight
GT
MARQ
 
9:00pm Tonight
PVU
STEPH
 
9:30pm Tonight
MERC
RICE
 
9:30pm Tonight
UF
UAB
 
11:00pm Tonight
WASH
SJST
 
11:59pm Tonight
MEM
BAY
 
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
WASU
 
Final
NYI 3
WAS 2
Final
BUF 1
WIN 2
Final
FLA 1
CAR 0
Final
TAM 4
NYR 3
Final
DET 5
PHI 2
Final
PIT 4
TOR 3
Final
MIN 0
LOS 4
Final
COL 2
CHI 3
Final
SJS 0
CAL 2
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
EDM
 
12:30pm Today
DET
CHI
4:30pm Today
DAL
PHI
8:30pm Tonight
SFX
SEA