It's the next-to-last weekend of the 2014-15 college basketball season and, as Saturday dawns, there are eight universities still in the running for the NCAA national title.
Four of those schools will be on the court Saturday evening, trying to advance to the "Final Four," one week from tonight in Indianapolis.
First up, in the West region final, No. 1 seed Wisconsin will take on second seed Arizona in a rematch of last year's West region final in Anaheim, Calif. Wisconsin, then seeded second, nipped top seed Arizona in overtime, 64-63, to go back to the Final Four for the first time since 2000.
The Badgers' Frank Kaminsky, who is this year's leading scorer, led Wisconsin to victory that night with 28 points. Wildcat center Kaleb Tarczewski was Arizona's second-leading scorer against Wisconsin last year with 12 points, after now-graduated guard Nick Johnson's 16 points.
Thursday night in Los Angeles, the Badgers had to come from behind to defeat North Carolina in the regional semifinals. Kaminsky helped Wisconsin get its 34th win of the season. But it was Sam Dekker's 23 points and 10 rebounds that propelled the Badgers into the Elite 8. The junior forward from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is the Badgers' second-leading scorer this season, averaging over 13 points per game.
The Wildcats held off a pesky Xavier squad late Thursday night, 68-60, in the other West region semifinal. Senior guard T.J. McConnell led the way with 17 points. Tarczewski had a double-double, as well, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
You can watch Wisconsin and Arizona on TBS, beginning at 6:09 p.m. Eastern time Saturday night.
The nightcap Saturday will be the Midwest region final, featuring unbeaten and top seed Kentucky against third seed Notre Dame from Cleveland.
The Kentucky Wildcats thoroughly dismantled fifth seed West Virginia Thursday night, 78-39. Five UK players scored in double figures and the Wildcat defense held the Mountaineers to just 24 percent shooting from the floor.
ESPN.com notes this about the Wildcats:
Since John Calipari took over as Kentucky's head coach in 2009, the Wildcats have the best record among Division I teams. The success has carried over to March, as Kentucky is the only team to make 3 Final Fours while winning 6 more NCAA Tournament games than any team during that span.
They will face a veteran Notre Dame squad, coming off a decisive win over Wichita State. The Irish shot over 55 percent from the floor and had four players in double figures, led by guard Demetrius Jackson's 20 points. Senior swingman Pat Connaughton chipped in with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
For Notre Dame to have a shot at knocking off Kentucky, the Irish will have to play defense and rebound like never before. Notre Dame is currently ranked 12th in scoring offense among NCAA Division 1 teams, averaging 78 points a game. However, the Wildcats are number two in the NCAA in scoring defense, only giving up 53 points per contest.
Another side note about Kentucky and the 37-0 roll they're on this season: The calendar on the university's athletics website has the Final Four schedule for Easter weekend. That's confidence.
Kentucky-Notre Dame can be seen following the Wisconsin-Arizona contest on TBS, beginning approximately at 8:49 p.m. Eastern.