Kentucky’s surprising run through the 2014 NCAA Tournament continues after their thrilling 75-72 victory over Michigan in the Midwest Region Final. They have now knocked Wichita State from the ranks of the unbeaten, topped Louisville in the tournament for a second time and repaid Michigan for a loss that was stuck in Kentucky fans’ craw for nearly 21 years.
When it comes to infamous losses in Kentucky basketball history, a certain Duke Blue Devil from 1992 (who shall remain nameless) is at the top of the list. Kentucky was able to even that score in 1998.
However, the next season Kentucky found itself in the 1993 Final Four against Michigan and its Fab Five. Yep, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. That Fab Five. Just like 1992 versus Duke, Kentucky was overmatched in the talent department, just like 1992 they battled valiantly and came up just short. The Wolverines moved on with an 81-78 victory in overtime.
The two schools hadn’t played since then.
Both teams lived up to the hype 20 years later as the spectators at Lucas Oil Stadium were treated to another great game in this year’s Big Dance. Nik Stauskas had his hand in everything for Michigan in the first half. The Player of the Year in the Big Ten showed us why as he scored 18 of Michigan’s 37 points in the first half. He did it in a variety of ways too. When his first shot, a three, went down you knew there was a chance it could be a long afternoon.
James Young came to play against his home state school. He finished with 13 points but kept Kentucky in it with his shooting and helped cut into the double-digit lead Michigan had built. The man of the hour, day, and season up to this point is undoubtedly Lee, Marcus Lee, that is. His minutes were increased due to Willie Cauley-Stein being out with an ankle injury. Lee was up to the challenge as he rocked the rim with four put back dunks. He also added a nice driving lay-up for good measure and finished with 10 points for the game.
Former UK Hoops guard Keyla Snowden may have summed up Lee’s impact best.
Marcus Lee is trending worldwide , #BBN !