BOZICH | Kentucky's path to greatness goes through No. 1 doors - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Kentucky's path to greatness goes through No. 1 doors

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Kentucky finished its final Final Four public practice at Lucas Oil Stadium Friday. Kentucky finished its final Final Four public practice at Lucas Oil Stadium Friday.

INDIANAPOLIS – Two more wins and the confetti will blast. Two more wins and the band will blast, too. Two more wins and the discussion will accelerate:

Where does this University of Kentucky team rank among the finest teams that have won college basketball's national title?

It won't simply be the 40-0 record that will edge the Wildcats into the debate with the great San Francisco, UCLA, Indiana, Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky teams. Hey, 40-0 is a powerful credential to flash.

But this Final Four is lined up to polish Kentucky's resume with an achievement that two schools can match: Back-to-back Final Four victories over number one seeds to secure the title.

Nobody can allege Kentucky is slipping through the back door. The teams the Wildcats will likely have to beat to win the school's ninth NCAA title will only enhance Kentucky's achievement.

Saturday night against Wisconsin, winner of the West Regional. Ranked third in the pre-season, the Badgers will still be sitting third when they play UK at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Monday night likely against Duke, winner of the South Regional. Ranked fourth in the pre-season, the Blue Devils will still be sitting fourth if they outlast Michigan State and move into the championship game.

“We're trying to make history,” said Willie Cauley-Stein, UK's junior center. “I don't think it would necessarily define us, but it would put the icing on the cake.”

A pair of Ones (seeds, that is) and then finally done for Kentucky.

The NCAA started seeding this tournament in 1979. Only two teams have won the championship by defeating a pair of one seeds in the final two games.

The first was Arizona in 1997. The Wildcats actually defeated three No. 1 seeds, taking down North Carolina and Kentucky in the Final Four after upsetting Kansas in regional play.

The second was Kansas in 2008. The Jayhawks outplayed North Carolina and Memphis in San Antonio.

That is the complete list that Kentucky is primed to join.

Beat Wisconsin and Duke after handling Notre Dame (ranked 8th) last weekend as well as Kansas (10), North Carolina (15), Louisville (17), West Virginia (20) and Arkansas (21) during the regular season. That would be nine victories against eight Top 25 teams, ample credentials to bring to any historical debate.

“I always knew that Wisconsin definitely had the talent and definitely had the coaching and had the talent around to make it to this point,” said Karl-Anthony Towns, UK's formidable freshman center.

You bet. The Badgers have been fussing about playing Kentucky again since they trudged off the court in Texas last season, beaten in the national semifinals by a single point on an Aaron Harrison jump shot.

They've never tried to disguise their eagerness for a rematch. Take a break from this story to examine the Twitter account of Sam Dekker, the Badgers' talented forward. (It's @samdek1. But come back and finish reading, please.) You'll notice the dominant picture on Dekker's Twitter page is Kentucky celebrating that Final Four victory.

“It's a great story (getting a rematch with Kentucky),” said Frank Kaminsky, the Badgers' all-American center.

“To talk about last year when we played them and the way we lost, then to come back and beat them on the same stage would be a story book ending almost.”

“We've seen them a lot,” said Wisconsin guard John Gasser. “They're the best team in the country. You can't dispute that. They haven't lost a game yet.”

Here is the list of teams that have beaten the Badgers: Duke, Rutgers (a game Kaminsky missed) and Maryland. They won the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles.

Here is the list of teams that have beaten Duke: North Carolina State, Miami and Notre Dame twice. Mike Krzyzewski, the Blue Devils' Hall of Fame coach, is trying to win his fifth NCAA championship ring.

“If we end up winning it all, then we will go down in history,” Cauley-Stein said.

“If we end up losing, we will still go down in history being talked about that we were undefeated until we lost it.

“So either way, we're going to be talked about, but we want to be talked about in a good way.”

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