UPDATE: Michigan State And Duke Join Kentucky and Wisconsin In Final Four
Update: Michigan State defeated Louisville 76-70 on Sunday, and Duke out-scored Gonzaga 66-52 to earn spots in the NCAA Basketball Tournament Final Four. Michigan State will play Duke and Kentucky will face Wisconsin next Saturday in Indianapolis. The winners will play Monday for the National Championship.
With everything at stake, Kentucky didn't panic and played to perfection.
The Wildcats made clutch shots, buckled down on fearless Notre Dame and kept their unblemished season intact.
The shot at history and another NCAA title are in reach.
Andrew Harrison made two free throws with six seconds remaining, and the unbeaten Wildcats made their last nine shots to survive their toughest test to date, coming back after trailing for much of the second half to defeat the Fighting Irish 68-66 on Saturday night in the Midwest Regional final.
The Wildcats (38-0), seeking to become college basketball's first undefeated champion in 39 years, advanced to the Final Four in Indianapolis next week, where they will meet Wisconsin - a rematch of last year's semifinal.
"We know our will to win," said Aaron Harrison, who hit a crucial 3-pointer. "And it just showed us we never give up, and we fight to the end just like any other team."
These Wildcats are not like any other team.
The Fighting Irish (32-6) came within seconds of shocking the tournament's overwhelming favorite. Notre Dame, with a rich history of stunning upsets in football and basketball, wasn't done until Jerian Grant's double-clutch 3-pointer from the left corner was long.
When the ball harmlessly hit the floor and the horn sounded, Kentucky's players hugged in celebration knowing they had ducked disaster. The Cats had used up one of their nine lives.
"We didn't play very well and Notre Dame, I thought, controlled the whole thing, but we made the plays," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "We figured out a way to win it. We've had other tests, but we have a will to win."