head coach Bo Ryan speaks during a press conference at the
NCAA west regional tournament Friday in Los Angeles for a
college basketball regional championship game in the NCAA
Tournament. Wisconsin is scheduled to play Arizona on
games will decide half the Final Four, and the big boys have
pushed the Cinderellas off the dance floor.
Wisconsin are back in Southern California fighting for a Final
Four berth again. In Cleveland, Notre Dame takes on the biggest
heavyweight college basketball has seen in decades, and Kentucky
is favored to keep its undefeated season going and deny the
Fighting Irish their first Final Four trip since 1978.
The first game
features Pac-12 champs (regular season and tournament) against the
Big Ten champs (regular season and tournament) in a rematch of
last year's West Regional final. In that game, second-seeded
Wisconsin beat top-seeded Arizona 64-63 in overtime. This year the
seedings are reversed, and plenty of players are back from both
one more play in overtime than we did," Arizona's Gabe York
said Friday. "That was a crazy, crazy scenario. There were
only 2 seconds left and it took them about 15 minutes for those 2
seconds to end."
(34-3) advanced with a win over North Carolina, while Arizona
(34-3) beat Xavier in the Sweet 16.
it's icing on the cake that we get to play Wisconsin in the Elite
Eight and have a chance to go to the Final Four," York said.
"We're extra amped."
The late game
features the tournament champs of the ACC — the best conference
in this tournament — against the undefeated SEC champion.
head coach John Calipari answers questions during his news
conference at the NCAA men's basketball tournament Friday in
Cleveland. Kentucky plays Notre Dame in the regional final
Saturday, hoping to extend their unbeaten streak and reach
the Final Four.
The talk of the
tournament has been dominated by Kentucky's run at a perfect
season. The Wildcats (37-0) dismantled West Virginia in the
Midwest Regional semifinal. Notre Dame (32-5) was pretty
impressive itself in a Sweet 16 win over Wichita State.
Irish are double-digit underdogs, but they may have some extra
fans as they try to end Kentucky's bid at the first perfect season
since Indiana in 1976.
America's team tomorrow," coach Mike Brey said Friday.
"And we love it, we certainly will take all that support.
We've got a monumental challenge on our hands."
Notre Dame may be
America's team, but Kentucky fans will fill up the arena as the
Big Blue Nation usually does.
faced different tactics from each opponent in this tournament and
the Irish will keep that going.
"We have a
lot of confidence," guard Jerian Grant said. "We feel
they haven't played an offensive team like us. Just go out there
and play our game I think we'll be able to get a win."
CALL: The Atlantic Coast Conference has three teams still
playing — Duke, Notre Dame and Louisville — and with each in a
different region there is a chance it could match the Big East's
record of three teams in one Final Four in 1985. The ACC's record
of 14-3 through the regional semifinals is the only one over .750
by any conference.
The Big Ten has
two teams still alive — Wisconsin and Michigan State — while
the Southeastern Conference (Kentucky), Pac-12 (Arizona) and West
Coast Conference (Gonzaga) have one each.
There were two
teams from one conference in the last two tournaments. Last year
it was Kentucky and Florida of the SEC and in 2013 it was
Louisville and Syracuse of the Big East.
Dame head coach Mike Brey answers questions during a news
conference at the NCAA college basketball tournament Friday
in Cleveland. Notre Dame plays unbeaten Kentucky a regional
final on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the Final
GROUP: The eight coaches working the sidelines this weekend
can be broken into three groups.
There are those
that already have at least one national championship: John
Calipari, Kentucky, Mike Krzyzewski, Duke, Tom Izzo, Michigan
State, and Rick Pitino, Louisville.
Then there are
those still looking for their first Final Four appearance: Sean
Miller, Arizona, Mark Few. Gonzaga, and Mike Brey, Notre Dame.
The third group
is Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, who took the Badgers to the Final Four
last season for the first time and is still looking for his first
Division I championship. He coached Wisconsin-Platteville to four
Division III titles in the 1990s.
The other half of the Final Four matchups will be decided Sunday
when top-seeded Duke and No. 2 Gonzaga meet for the South Regional
title and fourth-seeded Louisville faces No. 7 Michigan State for
the East Regional championship.
Duke will play in
its 20th regional final, the 14th under Mike Krzyzewski, the most
by any active coach. The Blue Devils' last Final Four appearance
was in 2010, when they also went through Houston on the way to
their fourth national title.
Krzyzewski has a
record 85 NCAA Tournament wins, 20 more than Dean Smith and Roy