At last, the Final Four is set. Wisconsin vs. Kentucky and Duke vs. Michigan State.
Wisconsin advanced past Arizona with brilliant shooting in the second half. The Badgers hit 10 threes in 12 attempts, including a perfect 5-of-5 from Sam Dekker, to move on past Arizona and set up a meeting with undefeated Kentucky. Dekker finished with a career-high 27 points, while Big Ten Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky scored 29.
Notre Dame gave Kentucky nearly everything they could handle, finding ways to exploit the vaunted Wildcats defense. It still wasn't enough in a 68-66 Kentucky win thanks to a couple of game-winning Andrew Harrison free throws and a huge 25-point showing from Karl-Anthony Towns.
A combined effort between four Duke Blue Devils sealed the deal against Gonzaga. It wasn't just Tyus Jones controlling the flow of the game. Matt Jones had 16 points, hitting three triples in the second half. Justise Winslow had 16 of his own during his Houston homecoming, and Quinn Cook added to Duke's deadly perimeter attack with his 10 points.
Michigan State outlasted Louisville in overtime behind a team-leading 17 points for Travis Trice. Louisville was paced by Wayne Blackshear's 28 points since Terry Rozier had an off shooting day (6-for-23 FG). But the unsung hero for the Spartans was Bryn Forbes and his 14 points from the bench, with 12 coming from deep.
Arizona was an excellent defense, but Kentucky's is on a different level. Wisconsin will try to emulate Notre Dame and find ways to score on the Wildcats when the two teams face each other on Saturday, while Kentucky would like to see an entire game played the way Willie Cauley-Stein defended the final shot.
Michigan State's had a great run into the Final Four behind Tom Izzo's strong coaching presence, especially in the postseason. If any team could handle Duke's explosive offense and solid transition play, the Spartans could be the team to do it. However, they haven't seen a big man as physically imposing as Jahlil Okafor.
Here's an updated bracket for the Final Four: