NCAA Tournament: Kentucky Continues to Dominate, Wildcats Crush West Virginia
Kentucky showed everyone -once again - why they are the favorites to win it all this year.
In the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Semifinal, the Wildcats came out strong and wasted no time in their dominating 78-39 victory over West Virginia.
"Pretty much what I was afraid could happen," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "They came out and made a bunch of shots and we couldn't score which was my biggest fear, that we would have a hard time scoring. But if you look, nobody scores around the rim against them and we couldn't, either."
The game started off on a somewhat equal footing with both teams still getting a feel for the court. At the 17:12 mark, however, the Wildcats got into rhythm and went on a 14-0 run, extending their initial lead of just 4-2 to 18-2. By halftime, the Wildcats were leading 44-18.
When asked why the Mountaineers got off to a start slow, senior Juwan Staten said, "They came out with a lot of energy. I watched a lot of film on them and this is the best they shot the ball all year. And then they played great defense on us and that made it hard on us to get into our defense because we have to score to get into our defense. They are the biggest team in the country and no team has been able to get shots on them, they play hard, they guarded, they played with a lot of fire."
Huggins added, "They were what I thought they were, which is the best defensive team in the country. They are terrific defensively, that's the best defensive team I've ever coached against - and nobody is going to beat them when they are making shots."
After the halftime break, the Wildcats continued to dominate and never let up despite their huge lead. After West Virginia Devin Williams made one free throw shot, Kentucky went on a 10-0 run. At the 13:46 mark, the Wildcats were leading by 54-19.
"I was pleased with how zoned in with how we were going to attack the press and finish," Calipari said. "I told them to try and score 100 if we could, I wanted them to play loose offensively and they did."
UK (37-0) will advance to the Elite Eight for the fifth time in six seasons under head coach John Calipari. If UK defeats Notre Dame, it will be Calipari's fourth trip to the Final Four with the Wildcats and his 6th overall as a coach.
The win would also give UK their 17th Final Four appearance, which will tied them with UCLA for the second most Final Four appearances in college basketball history. North Carolina currently has 18.
UK will face No.3 seed Notre Dame (32-5) in the Regional Final on Saturday.
West: No. 1 seed Wisconsin defeated No. 4 seed North Carolina 79-72. No. 2 Arizona beat No. 6 Xavier 68-60.
East: No. 8 N.C. St. will play No. 4 Louisville on March 27 at 7:37 p.m. on TBS. No. 3 Oklahoma will play No. 7 Michigan St. at 10:07 p.m. on TBS.
South: No. 2 Gonzaga will take on No. 11 UCLA on March 27 at 7:15 p.m. on CBS. No. 1 Duke will play No. 5 Utah at 9:45 p.m. on CBS.