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Double high-fives are in order for the Kentucky mascot, and the team, after advancing to the Final Four as a No. 8 seed.
Some might argue that Kentucky made this list of overachievers only by underachieving earlier in the season.
To some degree, it's a valid point. The freshman-laden Wildcats did enter the season ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation, according to both The Associated Press and the USA Today Coaches Poll. But during the regular season, they lost every single game they played against a ranked opponent to not only fall quickly from the top of college basketball's rankings but out of the Top 25 altogether.
Thus, they entered the tournament as a No. 8 seed with 10 losses.
How did Kentucky then get on such a roll where it beat, in succession, Kansas State, No. 1 seed and unbeaten Wichita State, No. 4 seed Louisville and second-seeded Michigan to win the Midwest Region and advance to a Final Four date with Wisconsin?
Well, through perseverance, hard work...and plenty of humor from Coach John Calipari, who told the media in a Final Four news conference (via USA Today) that at one point he had himself wheeled into practice in a casket, popped out and said, "We ain't dead yet, boys!"
Whether or not that actually happened seems open to debate, but Calipari deserves credit for not giving up on his young team and believing that as a group they would continue to improve and come together as the season progressed.
So when they fell behind 20-9 at the outset of their much-anticipated Sweet 16 matchup with in-state rival and defending national champion Louisville, Calipari didn't panic and neither did his young but talented players—who now believe in themselves as a unit.