INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The team pegged for 40-0 now has 30-10 in its sights.
Anybody at Kentucky disappointed?
The Wildcats and all those freshmen are headed to the Final Four - a trip to Big D courtesy of a big shot by Aaron Harrison that kept a late-season streak going only weeks after so much had seemed lost.
Harrison made a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left Sunday to lift eighth-seeded Kentucky to a 75-72 win over Michigan and send the Wildcats to the program’s 16th Final Four.
“It’s a process,” coach John Calipari said. “Every year, it’s a process. Some guys get it quicker than others. It took these guys a little longer, and it took me a little longer to figure them out.”
But they figured it out just in time. Not in time to make good on the “40-0” boast that was printed on some T-shirts before the season began, but in plenty of time to make this a season to remember.
He took a handoff from his twin brother, Andrew, dribbled three times to the top left of the arc and launched a shot over Michigan’s Caris LeVert.
“I was so excited, I kind of blacked out,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know what to think.”
Michigan’s Nik Stauskas missed a desperation heave at the buzzer, and then, it was Harrison’s turn on the bottom of a dog pile. Make that a puppy pile. Eighth-seeded Kentucky is the first all-freshman starting lineup to make the Final Four since the Fab Five at Michigan in 1992.
The Wildcats (28-10) will play Wisconsin next Saturday outside of Dallas at AT&T; Stadium. Two more wins and they’ll have the school’s ninth national title.
The second-seeded Wolverines (28-9) ended their season one win shy of a second straight Final Four.
“You’re going to make them score over you,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “I thought (LeVert) got his hand up. They did a good job on it. But he made a shot from deep.”
What a ride this has been for this group of Wildcats, an all-new collection of McDonald’s All-Americans who were touted as the team that could be perfect, then dismissed out of hand when the bad losses and bad basketball piled up in January and February.