Wisconsin vs. Kentucky, the 2nd of the two Final Four semi-final games on Saturday, will be a matchup that has been building for a year. The game is a rematch of last season’s Final Four thriller and will feature the relentless shooting of the Wisconsin Badgers against a Kentucky team that could give some NBA teams a run for their money in athletic ability. Last season it was the Wildcats who played upset to the higher seeded Badgers, but can Wisconsin return the favor and ruin Kentucky’s perfect season? Here is all you need to know about Kentucky vs. Wisconsin 2015.
Why Kentucky vs. Wisconsin is intriguing
Kentucky and Wisconsin are almost polar opposites in terms of how the teams are put together and how they play. Kentucky’s team is built from the top high school talent in the country. It is highly likely that every starting player on the Kentucky team will declare for the NBA Draft before reaching their junior year. Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan puts together teams based on his system, and few were regarded in the top players coming out of high school. Kentucky overpowers teams with superior size, strength, and athleticism. Wisconsin swings the ball on the perimeter and plays finesse basketball. Don’t get me wrong, both are fantastic teams and ultra talented, just in different ways. Last season the Wildcats came from behind to win by 1, in one of the best games of the last 5 years. This years matchup will feature two teams that have somehow both improved collectively and will be truely a clash of basketball ideologies.
Why Wisconsin Wins
If there was any team in the tournament that Kentucky should be nervous about, it is Wisconsin. No the Badgers aren’t on the same level athletically as Kentucky, but they sport one of the tallest starting five in the tournament. The Badgers starting five includes 7 footer Frank Kaminsky, and 6’9 Sam Dekker who is lethal from behind the arc. Kentucky is used to dominating teams in size and Willie Cauley-Stein will finally play against a 7 footer with some athleticism in Frank Kaminsky. What the Badgers do better than maybe anyone in the country is spread the court and swing the ball. Notre Dame took a similar approach against Kentucky and was almost able to ride their outside shooting to a victory over the Wildcats in the Elite Eight. If Kentucky has shown one weakness this year it has been lapses in intensity. Expect the Badgers to take full advantage of this and for them to swing the ball with typical Bo Ryan precision. If the Badgers shoot like they did in the 2nd half against Arizona, it could be a 38-1 season for the Wildcats.
Why Kentucky Wins
Kentucky is simply on another level athletically than the rest of the field. The Wildcats have two 7 footers on their roster, and don’t have a single starter who is under 6’6. Not only are the Wildcats tall as a collective, they are all athletic, with 7 footer Willie Cauley-Stein able to run the floor and play defense on the perimeter. Kentucky has allowed under 54 points a game and average almost 7 blocks. If they are able to keep Wisconsin from getting clean looks on the perimeter, it could be a long day and a 2nd straight Final Four loss for the Badgers. Kentucky hasn’t lost since last seasons National Championship and they win simply because that is all they know how to do.
Whether you are a fan of the two handed slam, or a contested three pointer, this matchup was made in basketball heaven, and all eyes will be on Blue vs. Red.