Here we are, Kentucky Wildcats fans, in a place none of us imagined at the end of the regular season. I think almost every Kentucky fan had to recalibrate expectations after the beat-down at the hands of the Florida Gators, yet here we are facing the Michigan Wolverines for the right to go to the Final Four. This would be Calipari's third Final Four in five seasons at Kentucky if it happens, and that would truly be something. But that may not happen, and I guarantee Kentucky's ascension to that exalted perch will be opposed.
Essentials for victory
Defend the three — Kentucky has actually been good at this all year, but the 'Cats have never faced a team as adept at 3-point shooting as Michigan.
Dominate the offensive glass — Kentucky has done that all year, and if they are to have any chance in this game, they must do it again. Michigan is not a great rebounding team, and Kentucky is the second best in America.
Avoid fouls on the front line — With Willie Cauley-Stein out, Kentucky must be far more careful about front-line fouls.
Attack the rim — Michigan is not a physical team, and Kentucky should be able to get to the tin.
Get back in transition — Michigan is great at getting clean 3-point looks in transition. Kentucky has not been a good transition defensive team. They need to become one today.
This is a very close game statistically. Ken Pomeroy has it as a push with a tiny edge to Michigan. Forget that, it's meaningless. The team he is comparing to Michigan no longer exists, and hasn't existed for six games now. That team died on the floor of the O'Connell Center in Gainesville and has been reborn into something much different. Something much better.
Let's hope we see them again today. Go, 'Cats!