Kentucky won a hard fought battle against their in-state rivals last night, and were forced to play throughout part of the game without Willie Cauley-Stein. The Kentucky forward suffered an injury in the first half of the Louisville game, and was unable to return.
The Sweet 16 match-up between rivals Kentucky and Louisville was certainly one of the biggest, and would mean the most for each of them, as they fight to become the best team in the state. The Wildcats won the game 74-69, despite not having their star Willie Cauley-Stein available in the second half.
The Kentucky Wildcats were top-ranked team to start the season, and high hopes entering the season, although they lost 10 games, and have not lived up to the hype. After beating formerly defeated Wichita State, and now Louisville, Kentucky will play in the Elite Eight, and is only one win away from an appearance in the Final Four.
Speaking on the availability of Willie Cauley-Stein in the game against Michigan, Kentucky coach John Calipari said “He’s still in a boot. He’s doubtful. He’s acting like he thinks he could do something, and I would be stunned if he plays in this game.”
Many people had picked Wichita State or Louisville to advance from the Midwest region, but Kentucky continues to surprise people and may even have what it takes to upset Michigan. Michigan is the No.2 seed, and barely beat Tennessee last night, but can Kentucky do it without Willie Cauley-Stein?
After Cauley-Stein left the game last night, Dakari Johnson came in to replace him, and gave an impressive performance with 15 points and 6 rebounds. He could give a similar performance against Michigan, but Kentucky was hoping to have Cauley-Stein’s smaller physique, and athletic skills, when matching up against the smaller lineup of the Wolverines.
Kentucky struggled throughout the season, but they are on a hot streak right now. If the Wildcats can win just two more games, then they could get a rematch against Florida, if they also win their next two games.
Over the course of the 2013-2014 season, the 7-foot Willie Cauley-Stein averaged 6.8 points and 6.1 rebounds. He receives help from other star players such as Julius Randle, James Young, Aaron Harrison, and Andrew Harrison.
The Kentucky Wildcats were able to reach the SEC Conference Championship where they almost beat the No.1 overall seed Florida, but their streak could come to an end tomorrow against Michigan. The Wildcats and Wolverines will tip off at 5:05 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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