Sunday, March 30, 2014
Keys to victory: Kentucky 75, Michigan 72
By ESPN Stats & Information
Kentucky made it two low seeds in the national semifinals by beating Michigan, 75-72 on Sunday.
The Wildcats became the fifth No. 8 seed to make the Final Four since the tournament expanded in 1985. The only No. 8 to win a national title was Villanova in 1985.
Kentucky joined Connecticut as teams that beat three top-4 seeds to get to the Final Four. Prior to this year, only three teams had ever done that: 1986 LSU, 2000 Florida and 2011 Butler.
The key to victory for Kentucky was the performance of its freshmen. Aaron Harrison made the big shot, a game-winning 3-pointer, but that was only part of the story.
Star Watch: Julius Randle leads the freshmen
Kentucky freshman Julius Randle led the Wildcats with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He became the second freshman in NCAA Tournament history to have a double-double in each of his first four games. The other was Gene Banks for Duke in 1978.
Kentucky became the first team to start five freshmen in an Elite 8 win since Michigan's "Fab 5" in 1992.
The Wildcats’ freshmen have scored 254 points, a total that trails only that Michigan team for the most by freshmen through the Elite 8.
Kentucky controls the paint,
limits Michigan outside the paint
Kentucky attempted 43 of its 58 field goal attempts in the paint (74 percent), the second-highest percentage in the 2014 Men’s Basketball Championship and third-highest in the last five.
Michigan scored 25 points outside the paint Sunday, its fewest in 11 tournament games the last three seasons. The Wolverines entered the game averaging a tournament-high 39.3 points per game outside the paint.
Elias Sports Bureau Stat of the Day
Kentucky is the first team in tournament history to eliminate both the defending champion and defending runner-up from the NCAA Tournament and the first to eliminate three teams from the previous year's Final Four.