CLEVELAND – Beware, Kentucky. That little leprechaun looms.
The pristine season, the presumed NCAA championship, the aura of invincibility and every other plaudit being thrown at the so-good-they’re-scary Wildcats are all at great risk. There’s a proven giant killer waiting.
Notre Dame’s got next.
The Fighting Irish, with a long history of slaying basketball behemoths, stand in Kentucky’s path to the Final Four and perhaps the first undefeated season in the major college game since Indiana ran the table 39 years ago. Tonight, Notre Dame gets another chance at bringing down a team of teams, one some feel is invincible – you know, like 1974 UCLA, who had their 88-game winning streak stopped by Notre Dame.
Double-digit underdogs, the Fighting Irish (32-5) believe they’ll take the floor with millions.
“We are America’s team tomorrow,” coach Mike Brey said Friday. “And we love it, we certainly will take all that support. We’ve got a monumental challenge on our hands.”
No doubt. Kentucky’s got a half-dozen future NBA first-round draft picks, and the top-seeded Wildcats (37-0) are coming off a jaw-dropping 39-point win over West Virginia in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament’s Midwest Regional. Kentucky showcased all of its splendor – size, depth, defense – in running the Mountaineers out of Quicken Loans Arena.
But beyond having one of the most efficient offenses in the country, 3-point shooters and underrated toughness, the Fighting Irish believe.
“We have a lot of confidence,” guard Jerian Grant said. “Just go out there and play our game I think we’ll be able to get a win.”
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