Roads are like coaching styles, take John Calipari’s route to Dallas and compare it to Bo Ryan’s. One is a talent over experience and the other experience and precision over talent. Both coaches and teams were expected in the preseason to go on a Clark Griswold vacation to Jerry’s World as Kentucky who finished (28-10) was preseason ranked #1 and Wisconsin was in the top 5 for the first half of the year and in the top of the tough in Big Ten Conference finishing (30-7).
Now that both teams survived the bumps, curves and somehow managed to get google maps to work correctly now sit in the Final Four with each other in the way to the title game looking to end each other’s route to a national title.
The teams drive different cars as Kentucky still has that new car smell compared to Wisconsin’s ride that has more mileage but well maintained.
Different styles are meeting tonight in Dallas. Kentucky looks to drive the lanes creating open shots for their wingmen or a lob over the top. Look for Kentucky to try to speed up Wisconsin who likes to grind on both ends of the floor until the opponent finally makes a mistake like missing a defensive rotation then strike. Bo Ryan will want to slow the game down and keep the final score in the 60’s but the Badgers have averaged 80 points in the last two games.
Keys for tweaked out Wildcats to win are to defend the 3, limit turnovers, clean the glass, and get to the stripe which they are the ninth best in the country at doing and also continue to play with swag,fun, passion, and as a unit.
A main key will be how Calipari and the Cats plan on guarding the 7 footer Frank Kaminsky who can stretch the floor with his shooting capability as well as his inside play. Look for a pick and pop if Dakari is on Kaminsky.
Without Willie Cauley-Stein to defend out on the key Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson will have to play big tonight, control the glass and not get into early foul trouble. Look for Bo Ryan to exploit that matchup early to try to get the Cats bigs into foul trouble. Also look for Wisconsin to front Randle and not double him early unless he starts to dominate then the Badgers will double him on the catch.
Keys for the Badgers will be their guard play. Traevon Jackson, who is great in transition and is a big shot maker is a key to tonight’s game. Ben Brust is the other Badger guard with inside the dome range as well as a high basketball IQ. On defense the Badgers will have to limit double teaming if possible to keep the game at their pace And hope to guard Kentucky 1 on 1.
It’s a well-known fact that it’s harder to shoot in a dome and that will favor Kentucky but the Badgers are a great offensive unit and move the ball well and will strike when the young Cats make mistakes especially on ball screens. The Badgers just didn’t get lucky to make it to Dallas they are well-rounded and coached.
The Cats hot streak will continue after beating 3 top 10 teams to get to where they’re at and will continue to slay another dragon this March. It won’t be easy but there’s something about this team that changed a month ago and whatever it was has opened not only the Big Blue Nation’s eyes but the rest of the nation as well.