The Final Four rematch was as good as the first meeting, except a different victor emerged.
The Badgers will play Duke for the national title on Monday night. Wisconsin has not played for the championship since 1941. The 74-year gap between appearances is the longest in NCAA tournament history.
Wisconsin joins 1991 Duke as the only teams to beat a team in the Final Four that they lost to in the previous Final Four (Duke beat UNLV).
Kentucky is the fourth unbeaten team to lose in the national semifinals, joining 1968 Houston, 1976 Rutgers and 1991 UNLV. The Wildcats finish the season with 38 wins, tied for the most in Division I history.
How they won: Coming through in the clutch, on the boards
Wisconsin closed the game on a 15-4 run, making 3 of 5 shots from the field and 8 of 10 from the free throw line. The Wildcats, who made nine straight shots to end their win against Notre Dame, closed this game by missing 7 of their last 8 shots.
Wisconsin also outrebounded Kentucky 34-22, including 9-2 in the final six minutes of the game. The Badgers grabbed 43 percent of their offensive rebound opportunities.
Each team missed 28 shots (including free throws that resulted in a rebound). Wisconsin rebounded 12, resulting in 13 points. Kentucky rebounded six, resulting in six points.
Wisconsin averaged 1.22 points per possession, equal to its nation-leading season average and Kentucky’s worst defensive efficiency of the season. The Wildcats entered the game allowing a nation-best 0.83 points per possession, including 0.82 in the NCAA tournament.
Difference-maker: Frank Kaminsky
Kaminsky had only eight points in the national semifinal loss to Kentucky last season, but played at his best in this game, finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds. He’s the first player to have 20 and 10 in a Final Four win against Kentucky since Chris Webber for Michigan in 1993.
Kaminsky got major help from Sam Dekker, whose 3-pointer gave the Badgers the lead for good. Dekker is 15-of-30 from 3-point range in the NCAA tournament. He entered the tournament shooting 30 percent on 3-pointers for the season.