Kentucky heads into Final Four matchup undefeated

By Joseph Yamulla || Assistant Sports Editor

     Every night that the Kentucky Wildcats lace up their sneakers and take court, the newest David vs. Goliath matchup is set. Regardless of who Kentucky matches up with this NCAA tournament, they will be favored and expected to win. On Saturday night, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish gave the Wildcats their toughest test yet. After a true clash of the titans and battle of champions, Goliath prevailed as Kentucky continued its historic undefeated run. As Big Blue prepares to fly into Indianapolis to play in the Final Four, they will be matched up with a team they are familiar with at this time of year: the Wisconsin Badgers. This is the second year in a row that Kentucky and Wisconsin face each other in the Final Four, and the matchup promises to be highly competitive and entertaining for basketball fans across the country. The remaining two spots in the Final Four will be determined by the winners of the match-ups between Michigan State vs. Louisville, and Duke vs. Gonzaga.

     Throughout just about the entirety of the game between Notre Dame and Kentucky, just about every fan, aside from Kentucky faithfuls, thought that this would finally be the downfall of one of college basketball’s most dominant teams. The Irish led just all of the game. They pushed a Kentucky team, with talent has been consistently compared to the NBA level, to the final seconds. However, with 6 seconds remaining on the clock, Andrew Harrison drove through the lane and got fouled by Demetrius Jackson. Harrison then went to the line, and knocked down two stone cold free-throws to put the Wildcats on top 68-66. With one more final push of hope, Notre Dame senior Jerian Grant drove down the court and fired a prayer three-pointer. To the dismay of Irish fans, the shot was long and the Notre Dame season ended with the sound of the buzzer.

      Kentucky may be advancing, but this test showed that they too are vulnerable. Invincibility is an unattainable feat, especially in college basketball where upsets are inevitable. They will match up against an incredibly talented and experienced #1 seed Wisconsin Badgers team, who is led by senior Frank Kaminsky. As it has been aforementioned, these two teams battled it out in a close game in last years Final Four that sent Kentucky to the National Championship In the final seconds of last year’s matchup, Aaron Harrison nailed a buzzer-beater and crushed the hearts of Badger nation. Kentucky knows that it is flirting with history, trying to become the first men’s basketball team to go undefeated and win the tournament since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers, led by the great coach Bob Knight. Wisconsin is certainly capable of spoiling this magical season, as they are coming off an impressive victory over the Arizona Wildcats. After another close game, the Badgers were able to pull away in the final minute and top Arizona by a score of 85-78.

     The 2015 NCAA Tournament has not failed to leave its mark in history with countless memorable games. Each team that climbs up the ladder and cuts down the nets, gains the rewarding feelings of triumph and accomplishment as they continue to advance and keep the dream of prosperity and history alive. After the conclusion of the games between Michigan State vs. Louisville, and Gonzaga vs. Duke, the Final Four will be set and the champion will only need to win two more games. As fans, this is the best time to sit back, and enjoy the triumph of victory, show respect for those who suffer defeat, and be a part of the dramatic journey to a team’s journey to college basketball immortality.

First-year Joe Yamulla is the Assistant Sports Editor. His email is jyamulla@fandm.edu.

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