Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Sports

Final Four matchup: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Wisconsin Badgers

No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers vs. No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats

Wisconsin

Record: 30-7 Conference: Big Ten

NCAA Tournament history: 29-18; champion 1941

Kentucky

Record: 28-10 Conference: SEC

NCAA Tournament history: 115-46; .champion 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012

Wisconsin's starting five

No.PlayerPos.PPGRPGAPG
1Ben BrustG12.84.51.4
12Traevon JacksonG10.73.84.0
15 Sam DekkerF12.46.11.4
21Josh GasserG8.94.01.9
44Frank KaminskyF/C14.16.41.3

Kentucky's starting five

No.PlayerPos.PPGRPGAPG
1James YoungG/F14.14.21.71
2Aaron HarrisonG14.12.91.89
5Andrew HarrisonG11.03.13.9
44Dakari JohnsonC5.13.90.2
30Julius RandleF15.110.71.39

Previous meeting

The teams met in the 2003 Sweet 16. Kentucky won 63-57.

Frontcourts

The premier matchup will be Kentucky 6-foot-9 forward Julius Randle (above right) and Wisconsin 7-foot forward Frank Kaminsky. Both can dominate inside but also step out and shoot. Kentucky coach John Calipari said his biggest concern is Kaminsky's ability to shoot 3-pointers. Wisconsin will have to find an answer for forward Alex Poythress. Kentucky is without center Willie Cauley-Stein (ankle), but Marcus Lee has stepped in admirably.

Backcourts

Wisconsin will use a three-guard lineup that includes Ben Brust, its all-time 3-point shooter, who is hitting 52.5 percent from beyond the arc in the NCAA Tournament; Josh Gasser (above left), who led the Big Ten in 3-point shots during the regular season; and Traveon Jackson, who has almost as many assists as rebounds. Kentucky will counter with twin-brother guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison, who are playing their best basketball of the season. Aaron has scored in double digits in every postseason game and is shooting 50 percent from 3-point range.

Benches

Both teams are essentially six or seven deep and don't rely heavily on their benches. The Badgers rely on freshman guard Bronson Koenig, who is averaging 17.8 minutes per game off the bench in the NCAA Tournament, and Nigel Hayes, the Big Ten sixth man of the year, but Hayes' 18 minutes against Baylor is his longest stretch in the past three NCAA Tournament games.

Antonya English, Times staff writer

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