When the season started Kentucky was supposed to be one of the best teams in the country. These expectations were very unfair considering they were again going to be relying on a cast of underclassmen. They won games despite all of this there only losses were to ranked opponents with the exception of Arkansas, LSU, and South Carolina. They were seeded 8th and had a tough 2nd round matchup vs. Kansas State that they were able to pull out with a low scoring win. This led to an early 3rd round showdown with the regions number 1 seeded Wichita State. The Wildcats had 5 freshmen going against 5 seniors for most of the game and they played wise beyond their years. Four out of the 5 Kentucky freshman starters accounted for 65 of the Wildcats 78 points in the 778-76 victory. The game was back and forth the entire way and Kentucky had a 2-point lead with two minutes to go. Over the next minute and thirty seconds Wichita State would make a basket and a three pointer while Kentucky made four free throws. A few missed foul shots later found the Shockers in possession down by 2 and a shot in the air to win the game. Luckily for Kentucky the shot missed and they survived this classic contest. Andrew Harrison was injured and played through this elbow injury to score 20 points on 6-9 shooting. Kentucky used their superior size in grabbing 32 rebounds compared to only 23 for Wichita State. Julius Randle had another dominant game going for 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. It was his 22nd double-double of the season, which is the most in the country. Aaron Harrison had 19 points and James Young added 13. It was a strong all around performance against a great
Louisville has a tough draw in getting a talented Manhattan team in the 2nd round. Luckily they were able to overcome a slow start and pull out the victory. This set up a tough 3rd round matchup with Saint Louis. They were somehow easily able to defeat Saint Louis despite 19 turnovers, awful shooting early in the game, and a subpar performance by star guard Russ Smith to get the 66-51 victory. Both teams were willing to go late into the shot clock and it resulted in some long possessions that were tough to watch. Louisville defended the 3-point line extremely well forcing St. Louis into missing all 15 of their 3-point attempts. Luke Hancock was the star of the 2nd round game and followed that up with another 21 points. The Cardinals scored 25 points off of 18 Saint Louis turnovers. Montreal Harrell had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Russ Smith had an uncharacteristic night but still managed 11 points. Chris Jones chipped in with 11 points.
This is going to be a close game based upon previous matchups in school history. Kentucky will have an athletism edge while Louisville will have the experience edge. In the end it will come down to those two factors. Both teams are extremely well coached, so it will come down to a battle of youth vs. experience.
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