NCAA Tournament: Kentucky Wildcats look for 17th Final Four appearance


When John Calipari enters a team in the NCAA Tournament, they tend to do quite well. Not only have the Wildcats made the Sweet 16 five times out of the last six years, but also have now made the Elite 8 five times in that same span, with Calipari going 5-0 in the regional semi-final. In his Tournament region final games Coach Cal has went 3-1, with the lone loss coming to West Virginia in 2010.

Now, the Wildcats are one win away from the final destination in College Basketball, Indianapolis and the Final Four. Kentucky now faces its toughest challenge yet in the tournament, Notre Dame, this year’s ACC tournament champions.

Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky Wildcats /

Kentucky Wildcats

The Fighting Irish are currently riding an 8 game win streak that spans back to February 24th, their last loss against Syracuse. However, other than that loss, ND has won 11 out of their last 12 outings, meaning they obviously have the pieces to win. The question is, is will those pieces show up against a dominant UK squad?

One of the main guys to note is senior Jerian Grant, the guard leads the team in points with 16.6 per game, and has boasted high numbers throughout postseason play. Including a 24 point outing against UNC in the ACC championship, the same UNC squad that kept Wisconsin on its heels for some time on Thursday evening, proving just how tough the Atlantic Coast Conference is.

The Wildcats of course will try and do what they do best, hinder an opponents offense to a complete halt, just like we saw Thursday against West Virginia. The difference however, is Notre Dame’s offense is a lot better than the Mountaineers. The official Kentucky Men’s basketball account tweeted out Coach Cal’s thoughts on this Fighting Irish squad.

"“Cal says Notre Dame is one of the most efficient teams in the nation. ‘They score in bunches.’ Difference last five games in ND is defending” via @KentuckyMBB"

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Notre Dame is definitely a team that can pose a threat, and the threat will continue to increase the farther the Wildcats make it into the tourney. The Fighting Irish will be a much more potent team to potentially cause a threat throughout the game, with me assuming they won’t “roll over and die” per say like WVU did on Thursday. However, the boys in gold must be ready for the analogy Coach Cal has used, comparing his team to tanks that keep coming over the hill.

Karl-Anthony towns also addressed his way of describing this team.

"There’s no bench on this team. There are reinforcements."

Coach Cal also issued some more statements about his team from yesterday’s media presser, via @KentuckyMBB.

"These kids, what they’ve done and how they’ve don’t it, it’s special."

The boys in blue have definitely done something special so far, now we all hope it can continue. Their toughest test so far comes tonight, one more game until the final destination, one more game until Indianapolis, one more game until The Final Four. The Wildcats and Fighting Irish tip-off this evening in Cleveland at 8:49 ET.