INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Just two more games stand between the last four teams remaining and an NCAA National Championship. While the Final Four begins Saturday, the teams are making their final preparations Friday as they take the court at Lucas Oil Stadium for open practices.
Fans have packed the home of the Colts for each of the practices, especially for the favored Kentucky Wildcats, who bring a 38-0 record into Indianapolis. After surviving a scare from Notre Dame in the Elite Eight, Kentucky now faces the Big Ten Champions and fellow one-seed Wisconsin tomorrow night.
The matchup features two figures with some new hardware. Newly crowned National Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky leads the Badgers against the vaunted Wildcats, and knows just how tough a task it will be to knock off Coach of the Year John Calipari’s deep and talented roster.
“It’s not going to be easy,” said Kaminsky. “They’re great shot-blockers. They know how to score on offense. They can run the floor. They can defend in multiple positions. It’s kind of like a two-headed monster with their bench and their starters. It’s not going to be easy. But I think we have a team that’s willing to do whatever we can to make sure we win.”
On the other side of the bracket, the Duke and Michigan State match-up pits two of the best modern college basketball coaches against each other. Tom Izzo leads an unheralded group in his seventh-seeded Spartans against Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils, who his Michigan State teams have struggled to beat over the years.
“He’s beaten a lot of people,” said Izzo. “Their teams have beaten a lot of people over the years. There’s always goals, there’s always objectives, there’s always landmarks that you’ve got to step beyond as your program builds. This is one of ours that we still haven’t conquered, but we’re working on it, I promise you that.”
The Michigan State and Duke game will be a rematch for the Spartans who lost to Duke 81-71 on the same court in Indianapolis back in November.
Their game will tip around 6:00 on Saturday, followed by the Kentucky-Wisconsin match-up.
The championship game will be held Monday night.