Wisconsin upsets No. 1 Kentucky, falls to Duke

admin

Jack Sweeney, Staff Writer

 

Kentucky vs Wisconsin

In the first semifinal matchup, seventh-seeded Michigan State matched up with top-seeded Duke. Lead by first-year center Jahlil Okafor and first-year forward Justise Winslow, Duke handled Michigan State with ease. The final score was 81-61, marking Michigan State’s worst loss in the NCAA tournament.

Kentucky looked to make history and continue their undefeated run to the finals, but Wisconsin’s AP player-of-the-year Frank Kaminsky had other ideas. It was a close game throughout, and with a halftime score of 36-36 no team had yet managed to pull away.

In the second half, the game seemed to be as good as done when Kentucky went on a dominant 8-0 run and held the Wisconsin offense to zero points for over six minutes.

To everyone’s surprise, Wisconsin instead responded with an 8-0 run of their own, which marked the beginning of the end for the Wildcats. In tight games, free-throws can prove to be the difference-maker. In this case, Wisconsin was able to make their free throws when it mattered, and Kentucky was not able to.

Junior forward Sam Dekker hit a three pointer with 1:42 left in the game, which gave the Badgers the lead for good.

Wisconsin pulled off the upset of the tournament with a 71-64 victory over an undefeated Kentucky team. Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky finished the game with 20 points and eleven rebounds, fueling his team’s trip to the final.

Championship game

The surprise of Monday night’s final was not the appearance of two number-one seeds. Rather it was which two number-one seeds met. Most expected Kentucky to be one of those number-one seeds. In fact, Kentucky vs. Duke was the most-picked championship game in ESPN’s Bracket Challenge.

Someone forgot to tell Wisconsin, as Bo Ryan’s team had no problem obliterating millions of already-fractured brackets.

The matchup to watch was Player-of-the-Year Frank Kaminsky going against Jahlil Okafor, the runner-up for the same award. With Kaminsky measuring in at 7’0” and Okafor at 6’11,” they matched up well against each other.

The first half went back-and-forth between the two teams and eventually ended with a halftime score of 31-31. Kaminsky outplayed Okafor for the majority of the game.

Kaminsky finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Okafor finished with only 10 points and three rebounds, a non-factor most of the second half.

Still, when it came down to crunch-time, Okafor was able to get it done. He scored two straight baskets over the senior from Wisconsin and gave Duke the lead for good.

Another factor that tipped the scales in Duke’s favor was the ineffectiveness of Wisconsin’s three-point sharpshooter, Sam Dekker. He finished the night 0-6 from three point range, with 12 points and eight rebounds. Lacking his usually-consistent scoring touch, the Wisconsin offense often stalled. Duke took advantage of this and capped off an impressive title run.