NCAA Tournament Final Four: Cheat Sheet
The Kentucky Wildcats, Louisville Cardinals, Ohio State Buckeyes and Kansas Jayhawks are the last teams standing after each outlasted the 15 other teams in their respective regions.
How The Kentucky Wildcats Got Here
Defeated No. 16 Western Kentucky, 81-66, in Round of 64
Defeated No. 8 Iowa State, 87-71, in Round of 32
Defeated No. 4 Indiana, 102-90, in Sweet 16
Defeated No. 3 Baylor, 82-70, in Elite Eight
A Dominant Season
The Wildcats swept their in-conference schedule and only lost once during the entire regular season. Kentucky did, however, avenge their regular-season loss to the Hooisers by beating them in the Sweet 16. The team’s second and only other loss came in the SEC Championship game against the Vanderbilt Commodores. Coach Calipari’s crew beat fellow Final Four teams, Kansas and Louisville earlier this season by 10 and 7 points, respectively.
Why So Dominant
Six Wildcats averaged double figures, including three freshmen, two sophomores and just one senior. 6-foot-10 freshman Anthony Davis led the way with 14.3 points per game along with 4.6 blocks and 10.1 rebounds. Quite remarkably, three different Wildcats grabbed 2.6 or more offensive rebounds per game.
Tournament Studs: The Wildcats essentially only play six players every game, and fortunately for them, all six have been good or great at some point in the tournament. Among Wildcats players, Davis, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb have played the most consistent basketball this tournament.
Terrence Jones: 13.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG.
Doron Lamb: 16.8 PPG.
How The Louisville Cardinals Got Here
Defeated No. 13 Davidson, 69-62, in Round of 64
Defeated No. 5 New Mexico, 59-56, in Round of 32
Defeated No. 1 Michigan State, 57-44, in Sweet 16
Defeated No. 7 Florida, 72-68, in Elite Eight
Herky Jerky, But Now On A Roll
The Cardinals finished a rather average 10-8 for seventh place in the Big East this season. Louisville won its first 12 games before dropping five of its next seven. Despite an up-and-down season, the team has caught fire, stringing together eight consecutive postseason victories, including a four-day run in which it captured the Big East tournament title. By the time the Cardinals face the Wildcats, they will not have experienced a loss in exactly four weeks.
They Call Him Gorgui
Senegalese sophomore Gorgui Dieng is far less offensively gifted than Kentucky’s Davis, but he’s been a force inside, blocking 3.2 shots per night this season. The 6-foot-11 center’s minutes have more than doubled from a season ago, and he has raised his rebounding rate up to 9.0 per game.
Tournament Studs: The Cardinals have held three of their four tournament opponents to less than 40 percent shooting, including a strong defensive effort against the No. 1-seeded Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans could only muster 44 points on 28.6 percent from the field. Despite only averaging 9.5 points per game this season, freshman forward Chane Behanan has really stepped up his performance this March Madness. Behanan has recorded 14 points per game over four games. He’s also grabbing 7.8 rebounds per game, slightly above his season average. Junior point guard Peyton Siva has racked up 7 assists per game, while Dieng has posted 3.3 blocks per game along with 8 rebounds per round.
Part 2 took a closer look at the Ohio State Buckeyes and Kansas Jayhawks.