Five thoughts on Kentucky’s win over Wisconsin
Now that was much better. After a boring semifinal opener, Kentucky and their talented group of freshmen are moving on to Monday’s national title game thanks to another wild finish.
Here are my thoughts on UK’s 74-73 win over Wisconsin in the second semifinal Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.
1-That’s exactly the type of game this Final Four needed, an action-packed thriller that wasn’t decided until a missed jumper in the final seconds. Aaron Harrison didn’t shoot well on the day (3-of-8), but he nailed his only triple with six seconds remaining, giving eighth-seeded Kentucky another game-winner to advance. UConn, who will play the Wildcats Monday night, is 5-0 in Final Four games played in the state of Texas. But I’ll still take my chances with the young Cats. Dallas product Julius Randle, who scored 16 and grabbed five rebounds, will get a chance to win a college national championship a year after winning a TAPPS state championship in high school.
2-Kentucky saved the day, again. It’s not a secret that UK fans travel extremely well. This Final Four needed Kentucky’s star power and Big Blue Nation after Florida, UConn and Wisconsin clinched the first three spots to North Texas. On Saturday, Kentucky solidified a title game matchup that is much more appealing to the average sports fan. Wisconsin and UConn playing for that national championship doesn’t move the needle. You know who does? Outstanding young players like Randle, the Harrison twins and James Young, who will all be playing in the NBA in the near future.
3-Congratulations to AT&T Stadium on a new record. The venue broke the NCAA attendance record Saturday night with an announced crowd of 79,444. And quite a few celebs were also in the building. Some of the big screen showings included Johnny Manziel, Drake, Russell Wilson and J.J. Watt. They might not have all had a great view of the action, but Jerry Jones obviously knows how to throw a large party.
4-I feel bad for the Wisconsin team and its fans. It’s a long trip from Madison to Arlington and they deserved to win as much as Kentucky. They played well. Kentucky just made one more play. It was fun watching the Kentucky players pile on top of each other near midcourt like they had won the national title. But it sucks to have traveled so far this season and lose a game like that. Fortunately for the Badgers, most of that team returns next season. No one will be surprised if they wind up in Indianapolis.
5-The North Texas championship game will include a seven-seed and an eight-seed. Who had that on their bracket? The ideal scenario for the North Texas area would have been to have a local team like Baylor or Texas, or a traditional power like Duke, Kentucky, Kansas or North Carolina in the title game. The matchup might say it’s 8 vs. 7, but Monday’s game is likely to be a heavyweight battle with an ending more like the second game Saturday night.
Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota