It was an absolute barnburner.
Both teams kept coming right back at each other like a Mickey Ward vs. Arturo Gatti fight but in the end, it was No. 8 seed Kentucky left standing with a thrilling 75-72 win over No. 2 Michigan in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship Midwest Region final on March 30 in Indianapolis.
It will be hard argue that this wasn’t the best, most entertaining game to watch so far of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Neither team would let the other take control of the game. If Michigan went on a 6-0 scoring run, Kentucky answered with a 7-1 scoring run, and visa versa.
It lasted that way until the final seconds of the second half when freshman guard Aaron Harrison nailed a clutch three-pointer to set the final score at 75-72. Michigan had two seconds left to get a shot off but had to cover the length of the court and wasn’t able to get a clean, open look.
Kentucky had a balanced scoring attack with four players in double digits in points. Freshman forward Julius Randle led Kentucky with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman guard James Young followed with 13 points while Harrison added 12; freshman forward Marcus Lee scored 10 points with eight rebounds off the bench for Kentucky.
Sophomore guard Nik Stauskas scored the majority of Michigan’s points with a game-high 24.
Kentucky now moves on to its 16th NCAA Final Four appearance in school history, and its all-freshman starting lineup is the first to reach the Final Four since Michigan’s “Fab Five” of 1992. Kentucky will take on Wisconsin for a shot at the national title.
No. 7 Connecticut also reached the Final Four after upsetting No. 4 seed Michigan State, 60-54, in the East Region final on Sunday. UConn will take on No. 1 seed Florida in the Final Four matchups on April 5 in Arlington, Texas.