Kentucky Wildcats Basketball

NCAA Tournament: Kentucky Dethrones No. 1 and 2 Seeds En Route to Final Four

The Kentucky Wildcats have knocked off both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the Eastern Region en route to their first Final Four since 1998.
The Kentucky Wildcats have knocked off both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the Eastern Region en route to their first Final Four since 1998.Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Orly Rios Jr.Analyst IIMarch 28, 2011

The Kentucky Wildcats were not supposed to be in this position—not by a long shot.

The Princeton Tigers, better known for its Ivy League status than for its basketball program, took Kentucky to the final seconds in the first round. Most believed that only validated their belief that Kentucky wasn't a top contender.

Ohio State, the No. 1 ranked team in the East Region, was supposed to knock off Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen—but they didn't.

North Carolina, the No. 2 ranked team in the East Region, was supposed to end a nice little run by the Wildcats in the Elite Eight—but they didn't.

Now head coach John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats find themselves back in the Final Four for the first time since 1998.

The starting lineup for the Wildcats, led by three freshman, one junior and one senior, has played brilliantly since their first game against Princeton.

Josh Harrellson, the starting center and only senior on the Kentucky roster, has played like an MVP candidate. Harrellson, who during the season averaged 7.5 points and 8 rebounds a game, has turned up his play and it's no coincidence that this has helped key the Kentucky run. Throughout March Madness, Harrellson has average 14.8 points on 25-of-33 shooting from the field (76 percent) and nine rebounds per game.

Harrellson has been the most consistent player for the Wildcats in their unexpected run to the Final Four.

Friday night's win over Ohio State may be have Kentucky's finest defensive game of the year, and Sunday proved to be their biggest team win to date.

Against North Carolina, five Kentucky players hit double-digit points as Kentucky, time and again, hit clutch three-pointers en route to a 76-69 win. Freshman point guard Brandon Knight led the Wildcats with 22.

As Kentucky continues to play, Knight seems to be getting better and better. In this tournament he has two game-winning shots, a career-high 30 points against West Virginia and hit five of Kentucky's 12 three-pointers.

In the end, the Wildcats have earned their trip to the Final Four in Houston.

They have defeated both top seeds in the East Region and are two wins away from claiming the national title.

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