March Madness continues to live up to the hype.
Four straight days of non-stop action, starting with the Sweet 16 and ending with the Elite 8. Regional champions were crowned this past weekend, and the Final Four has been determined.
Here’s a quick recap of the action in the Midwest and West brackets:
On Thursday, led by Junior forward Frank Kaminsky, #2 Wisconsin Badgers rolled over #6 Baylor Bears 69-52.
Wisconsin took a 29-16 lead into the break and didn’t look back. Kaminsky led the Badgers with 19 points. Ben Brust contributed with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Senior forward Cory Jefferson led the Bears with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Kenny Chery and Isaiah Austin contributed with 12 points each -- Chery also grabbed 8 rebounds.
1 Arizona Wildcats squeaked by #4 San Diego State Aztecs 70-64. The Aztecs led for most of the game, but Junior guard Nick Johnson came up big for the Wildcats in the final 2:45.
Johnson scored 15 points within that period, after being held scoreless and missing all 10 field goal attempts. Most of his points came from the free throw line, making all of his 10 free throw attempts, and he hit a crucial jumper and a 3-pointer to lead the Wildcats to a comeback victory.
Johnson, Aaron Gordon, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson each scored 15 points to lead the Wildcats -- Johnson also contributed with 8 rebounds. Senior guard Xavier Thames led the Aztecs with 25 points. Dwayne Polee II contributed with 13 points off the bench.
On Friday, #2 Michigan Wolverines held off a late rally by #11 Tennessee Volunteers and won 73-71. The Wolverines almost blew a 15-point lead, but were able to hold on due to a big defensive play.
With 6 seconds remaining, trailing 72-71, Junior forward Jarnell Stokes had the opportunity to give the Volunteers the lead. He backed into the post and knocked over Jordan Morgan as he was making his move. The referee called an offensive foul on Stokes. Caris LeVert also helped on defense and stripped Stokes as he made his move.
The Wolverines had four players in double-figures. Jordan Morgan with 15 points, Nik Stauskas with 14 points, Glenn Robinson III with 13 points, and Caris LeVert with 10 points. Senior guard Jordan McRae led the Volunteers with 24 points and 6 rebounds. Josh Richardson scored 19 points. Jarnell Stokes had 11 points and 6 rebounds.
8 Kentucky Wildcats upset the defending champions, #4 Louisville Cardinals 74-69. The Wildcats overcame a 7-point deficit to send the defending champions home.
Sophomore forward Alex Poythress came up big for the Wildcats, scoring five points during a 7-0 run to tie the game at 66 with 2:11 remaining. Aaron Harrison made a huge 3-pointer with 40 seconds to go to give Kentucky a late 70-68 lead. That basket proved to be the game winner.
Freshman forward Julius Randle had a double-double, 15 points and 12 rebounds. Dakari Johnson and Aaron Harrison also finished with 15 points each. Andrew Harrison finished with 14 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. Senior guard Russ Smith led the Cardinals with 23 points. Luke Hancock contributed with 19 points. Montrezl Harrell finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds.
In the West Regional Final, #2 Wisconsin Badgers won a overtime thriller against #1 Arizona Wildcats 64-63.
Off a Nick Johnson missed jumper, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson grabbed the offensive board and dunked it to tie the game at 54 with 36 seconds remaining. Traevon Jackson had a chance to win it late, but missed. Both teams went into overtime tied at 54.
Frank Kaminsky came up big again for the Badgers, scoring 6 of his team’s 10 points in overtime and leading them to victory. Johnson had a chance to win it late, but was called for an offensive foul with 3 seconds remaining.
Wisconsin turned over the ball on the inbound pass, and the Wildcats were given another lifeline. Nick Johnson received the pass, but was unable to get his shot off before the buzzer sounded.
Frank Kaminsky had a huge game, scoring 28 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Traevon Jackson contributed with 10 points and 5 assists. Nick Johnson led the Wildcats with 16 points. Kaled Tarczewski finished with 12 points. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson finished with 10 points. Aaron Gordon grabbed 18 rebounds.
In the Midwest Regional Final, #8 Kentucky Wildcats upset last season’s runner up #2 Michigan Wolverines 75-72. The Wildcats were the preseason #1, and they are definitely playing like a #1 seed in the tournament.
Both teams went on short spurts to take the lead at various times throughout the game. During the latter stages of the game, the game became tight and Aaron Harrison hit another big shot to push Kentucky through to the final four.
With 2.3 seconds remaining on the clock, Harrison launched an NBA range 3-pointer to clinch the game for the Wildcats.
Julius Randle led the Wildcats with 16 points and 11 rebounds. James Young scored 13 points. Aaron Harrison scored 12 points. Marcus Lee had 10 points and 8 rebounds off the bench. Nik Stauskas led the Wolverines with 24 points. Glenn Robinson III finished with 14 points. Jordan Morgan had 11 points.
In the final four, #2 Wisconsin Badgers will take on #8 Kentucky Wildcats for the opportunity to play in the final against either #1 overall seed Florida Gators or the #7 UConn Huskies -- let’s go UConn!