A week ago on this very site, I made the bold prediction that the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team would fall beneath the buzz saw that was the West Virginia Mountaineers. I was wrong. So very, very wrong. Have I learned my lesson? No. This evening, Kentucky will fall beneath the unstoppable force that is the Wisconsin Badgers.
Kentucky, which crushed West Virginia, found themselves fighting for their very basketball lives last week against Notre Dame. It was only a pair of foul shots that separated Kentucky from a footnote in history, an unbeaten team brought low by a spirited opponent. Wisconsin is a better, more experienced team than Notre Dame and will give them an even tougher test – they will be the best team that Kentucky will play in the Final Four.
Featuring Frank Kaminsky, the 7-footer with incredible ball-handling skills, the Wisconsin scoring attack is fearsome. By Wisconsin being able to spread the floor, Kentucky will be forced into chasing down Badgers and be unable to crowd the paint – which has been vital to their suffocating defense. As the most efficient offensive team in the country, Wisconsin will be able to inflict some serious damage, as well as keep Kentucky playing from behind – a tactic that almost sent them home last weekend. When the inexperienced Wildcats fall behind, they tend to panic offensively, leading to turnovers that the confident Badgers will take full advantage of.
On the coaching side of things, Bo Ryan is a master tactician for out-of-bounds plays and using up the shot clock. Not only will Kentucky fall behind early, they might not have much of a chance to get back in the game.
Again, I’ve been wrong before. So terribly wrong. But maybe I’m right this time? I have hope. Kentucky isn’t unstoppable, they just haven’t been stopped yet.
Photos by ASSOCIATED PRESS