Wisconsin vs. Kentucky: Players That Will Take over in Final Four Showdown

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIMarch 31, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30:  Julius Randle #30 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines 75 to 72 in the midwest regional final of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 30, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The NCAA tournament has been beyond unpredictable up to this point, and the Final Four matchup of Wisconsin against Kentucky is probably the epitome of how this tournament has unfolded.

As preseason No. 1, the Wildcats have always been a very talented team. Some poor showings during the season resulted in a No. 8 seed in the tournament, and they're living up to that preseason ranking once again. Their most recent victory came against No. 2 Michigan in the Elite Eight.

The Badgers were considered by some to be the least worthy No. 2 seed in the entire tournament. They've had something to say about that, rolling into the Final Four.

These teams have been led by strong performances from some of the top talents in the nation. It'll be these players who decide the outcome of this Final Four showdown.

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Frank Kaminsky

Jae C. Hong

Forward Frank Kaminsky has been stellar in Wisconsin's past four contests. He scored just nine points against No. 15 American in the first game of the tourney, but has scored totals of 19, 19 and 28 since.

The junior is a unique forward in that he can score from all over the court, thus creating matchup issues for the defense. He shot 37.8 percent from deep this season. As a 7-footer, that's simply unbelievable.

He has great touch on his jumper and isn't afraid to pull the trigger with a hand in his face. After all, his height gives him the edge against perimeter defenders.

Kentucky has some stellar defenders and athletes, but even they won't be able to slow down Kaminsky. If he finds his touch early in the game, then he'll be a candidate to take over.


Julius Randle

Michael Conroy

As the top NBA prospect in this one, Julius Randle has been given high expectations. So far in the NCAA tournament, Randle has produced.

With at least 13 points and 10 boards in each game of the tournament, Randle is a near lock for a double-double against Wisconsin. He had his best outing against Kansas State; the potential lottery pick dropped 19 points and grabbed 15 boards.

Randle will get his points and rebounds, but defense is where I'm concerned. Randle is athletic and is a good interior defender, but guarding a player like Kaminsky won't be easy.

Kaminsky is the better ball-handler and perimeter player. The difficult matchup is winnable for Randle, but it certainly won't be easy. He'll need to remain on his toes and show the ability to contest jump shots.

Offensively, Randle will be a force for Kentucky. He might hurt the team a bit defensively, however.


Aaron Harrison

Michael Conroy

Aaron Harrison was the hero against Michigan in the Elite Eight, as he drained a last-second three to give the Wildcats a lead they would not relinquish. Here's that shot:

The guard scored 14.1 points per game this season, and he has scored at least 12 points in each game of the tournament. His best performance came against Wichita State. The Shockers couldn't handle him, as he scored 19 points and converted on five of seven shots from deep.

Harrison has been a steady performer all season long for Kentucky. He's one of the freshmen who have made the Wildcats so talented and was a key reason why they were the preseason No. 1. He'll be riding the high of his game-winner against Michigan, and that will mean bad news for Wisconsin.

He isn't much of a facilitator or rebounder, so Harrison's stat sheet will be relatively empty in those categories. He does play decent defense, though, as he has five steals in four tournament games. 

He'll make his biggest impact from deep, and Kentucky will feed him the ball with regularity.