In a game with plenty of peaks and valleys, Rick Pitino's defending champion Louisville Cardinals were not able to fight off John Calipari's rambunctious team from Kentucky in the battle of the Bluegrass State.
The young Wildcats defeated Louisville by a score of 74-69 on Friday night to win the Midwest Region semifinal at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Early on, the game looked like it would be a rout for Louisville as the Cardinals jumped out to an early 18-5 lead, playing tough defense and forcing Kentucky's shooting to the outside. But John Calipari calmed his young charges and the Wildcats clawed away at the lead, eventually taking control with just minutes remaining.
Kentucky suffered a blow to its defense when Willie Cauley-Stein checked out of the game midway through the first half with an ankle injury. He did not return, and his long-term status remains uncertain.
Scoring was a team effort for Kentucky, with 15 points each for Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson and Julius Randle. Randle also posted his 23rd double-double of the year to lead the entire NCAA.
The victory takes the 2012 champion Wildcats back to the Elite Eight, where they'll face Michigan on Sunday.
Final Score: Kentucky Wildcats (8) 74 - Louisville Cardinals (4) 69
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