2007 New York Giants, say hello to the 2015 Wisconsin Badgers.
After another standout effort by the duo of Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, the Wisconsin Badgers were able to halt the undefeated run of the Kentucky Wildcats, 71-64, to advance to Monday’s national championship game.
The Wildcats finish the season two wins shy of an undefeated season, falling short of becoming the first team since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers to go unbeaten.
Wisconsin advances to take on the Duke Blue Devils, who are coming off an 81-61 blowout win over Michigan State.
Rebounding was the main difference on Saturday night. Wisconsin rebounded 42 percent of their missed shots while allowing only 11 percent of Kentucky’s misses to be rebounded, offensively. Throughout the season, Kentucky had been a lot more effective than 11 percent on the offensive glass.By the end of the night, the Badgers had rebounded 43 percent on the offensive glass and an incredible 79 percent on the defensive side, out rebounding UK by a margin of 34 to 22.
With under two minutes to play and the score locked at 60-60, Dekker happened. He connected on an astounding step back 3-pointer to give the Badgers a 63-60 advantage. On the other end, Dekker drew a charge on Trey Lyles, which eventually led to Dekker driving and earning the foul on the ensuing possession to give Wisconsin a 64-60 lead that UK would not recover from.
It was the Kaminsky and Dekker show once more. Kaminsky finished with a game-high 20 points and 11 rebounds to pace the Badgers. Dekker, who proved crucial throughout the game, tallied 16 points and three boards.
Strange, Yet True
The last time the Big Ten won national titles in football and basketball in the same year was in the 1940-41 season. Wisconsin won in basketball that year, which also happens to be its last national title game appearance prior to Monday’s national championship game.
Wisconsin advances to the national championship game on Monday where they will take on Duke.
Kentucky finishes the season with a 38-1 record.