There may be no way to top last year’s Final Four 74-73 thriller between the Kentucky Wildcats and Wisconsin Badgers.
But at least we’re going to find out.
Wisconsin advanced to the Final Four with an 85-78 win over the Arizona Wildcats before watching Kentucky pull out a 68-66 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, setting the stage for a rematch of last year’s semifinal.
It started with the Badgers, who used a huge effort from Frank Kaminsky (29 points) and a career-effort from Sam Dekker (career-high 27 points) to offset the Wildcats balance. Five Wildcats scored in double figures, including 17 from both Brandon Ashley and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Arizona freshman Stanley Johnson finished with just five points on 2-4 shooting in 25 minutes.
Both teams shot over 50 percent, but Wisconsin finished 12-18 from the three point line.
They’ll meet the other Wildcats, who trailed for much of the second half against Notre Dame. After racing out to a five-point lead after half time, Notre Dame went on a 13-4 run to take the lead–a lead that appeared to be safe for much of the game.
With 3:18 remaining, Aaron Harrison put Kentucky up 64-63 with a three, but Jerian Grant responded with a three of his own for the Irish.
The Irish controlled the ball with under 1:30 remaining, but an isolation play from Grant resulted in a missed shot. Karl Anthony-Towns (25 points) scored in the post to tie it with 1:14 remaining. An Irish turnover with 34 seconds left led to two free throws for Andrew Harrison, who made both. A corner three for Grant, surrounded by three Wildcats, missed long.
Aaron Harrison was the hero last year against Wisconsin. Who will be the hero this year?
At least we get to find out.