Most people wrote off the Wisconsin Badgers already giving the Kentucky Wildcats the win that would make them 39-0, giving them a shot at a perfect season in the National Title Game this Monday. The Badgers stunned their critics by defeating Kentucky 71-64. It what was the unthinkable to most people, the Badgers knew all along they could do it. The question is, how did they do it? Let’s take a look at the factors that won Wisconsin the game and their first National Title berth since 1941.
The Badgers had a ten rebound advantage over the Wildcats, with the Badgers grabbing 34 rebounds while Kentucky grabbed 24. The aggressive rebounding attack by the Badgers stunned Kentucky’s seven footers as they didn’t expect the Badgers to challenge them on the glass it seemed like.
Shutting Down Willie Cauley-Stein
The Badgers held one of the best players in college basketball to 2 points and 5 rebounds in 33 minutes played by Cauley-Stein. Everyone was talking about Cauley-Stein not playing in Kentucky’s last Final Four game versus the Badgers, but Wisconsin proved that even with him now on the attack with nine other McDonald’s All-Americans, it wouldn’t have been enough.
Winning the Foul Battle
The Badgers came into this game as one of the best teams in the nation at not fouling the other opponents. That was on display yet again tonight, as Kentucky fouled the Badgers six more times then Wisconsin fouled them, as the Badgers won the battle of the fouls 14 to 20. The fouls lead to Wisconsin taking 12 more free throws then the Wildcats, and them getting nine more points then Wildcats at the line, which proved to be a huge difference in the Badgers seven point victory.
Multiple Film Sessions
The Badgers watched so much film it would remind you about how much film Ron Jaworski watched. They even replayed Aaron Harrison’s dagger three in last year’s Final Four to understand how to beat them in every angle. Kentucky didn’t even watch any film what so ever before hand, which showed early on they weren’t ready for what Wisconsin was showing.
The Belief They Could Win
The 38 teams that match-up with Kentucky were un-able to get the job done, and with media members everywhere doubting them, the Badgers didn’t let that distract them, and the swagger they showed on the court tonight proved that Wisconsin wasn’t afraid of Kentucky liked it seem like other teams were. The Badgers were not all stressed out over the match-up, as they were ready to knock off Kentucky.
Notre Dame sent out the blueprint on how to beat Kentucky, and the Badgers followed it.
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