Kentucky Basketball: The Road Ends Here


Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

For the fourth time in five seasons, the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Team will participate in the NCAA Final Four. This season, the Wildcats march to Indianapolis with a record of 38-0 in tow. Head Coach John Calipari has, once again, set the record for wins in a season. Calipari has assembled a roster that sits 2 games away from a goal that was believed to be impossible: the perfect season.

On Saturday night, the Wildcats were tested by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In Cal’s own words, Kentucky didn’t play well. But, as the guys have done all year, they found a way to win. Despite what some of the sports talking heads say, these Wildcats have been tested and every time, they’ve passed with flying colors. And the Midwest Regional Final wasn’t any different.

Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, this team is talented. There’s no doubt about that. But what makes this team special, on the verge of becoming historic is their belief. The players believe in themselves. They believe in each other. They believe in Coach Cal. These Wildcats believe they can win. The beauty of the Notre Dame game was that down the stretch, so many players contributed to the win. Karl-Anthony Towns was a beast in the second half, carrying the offensive load. Willie Cauley-Stein blocked Jerian Grant and chased him down to prevent a last second shot. Tyler Ulis hit a big three. And to no one’s surprise, Aaron Harrison hit a deep three. But the man of the hour was Andrew Harrison.

Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The much maligned Andrew Harrison has led his team to back-to-back Final Fours. He has his team undefeated. He’s had bad games. Andrew’s play has been sometimes frustrating and confounding. When the stakes are at their highest, there isn’t anyone I’d rather have driving the bus. Against the Irish, he directed the ball down to Towns on the block so the big man could work. And with the game tied and the season in the balance, he forced the issue, drove to the basket to draw a foul and calmly nailed two free throws to send the Cats to Indianapolis

ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, who has proven prophetic regarding these Wildcats said it best: “When Kentucky plays well, they win. And when they don’t play well, they find a way to win.” It’s easy to win when you’re hitting your shots and your defensive rotations are crisp, but how do you play when nothing is going right? These Cats, with this team, there’s no panic. There’s no finger pointing in the team huddles. This team closes like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross.

At the Final Four, Kentucky will play Wisconsin on Saturday in the National Semi-Final in a rematch of the 2014 Final Four where Aaron Harrison’s dagger sent the Badgers home. Wisconsin is a different team, but so are the Wildcats. I’m not sure how Cal and his staff will gameplan for Wisconsin, but I still have faith that the Cats will win and face the winner of the Duke/Michigan State game.

The Cats will finish 40-0 and capture the school’s 9th NCAA Title. The Road to the Final Four ends in Indianapolis and so will the 2014-15 University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Team’s path to history.

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