Tuesday, March 09, 1999

Kentucky's Road to the Title Game

        First round

        • New Mexico State, 23-9: The No.14 seed is the Big West champion with a familiar face at head coach — former Illinois mentor Lou Henson and his hair. State beat NCAA qualifiers Wisconsin and New Mexico, and lost to Washington and Arkansas.

        Second round

        • Kansas, 22-9: The No.6 Jayhawks won the Big 12 tournament. Great matchup with two of the most storied college programs. Kansas is down — it's the first time they aren't a top 4 seed this decade.

        Sweet 16

        • Utah, 27-4: The No.2-seeded Utes have won 22 straight. They went undefeated in the WAC. Utah would love to oust UK — the Wildcats have eliminated Utah in the last three NCAA tournaments, including a 78-69 victory in last year's title game.

        Elite Eight

        • Michigan State, 28-4: The No.1 seed won the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. How's this for a flashback? UK and Michigan State last met in 1978, when the Wildcats beat freshman Earvin Johnson and the Spartans 52-49 in the NCAAs.

        Final Four

        • Duke, 32-1: No.1 in all the college world. This scenario just keeps getting better. Wayne Turner in his fourth straight Final 4? A replay of last year's great 86-82 victory? Wow.

        Championship game

        • No.1 Auburn (27-3) or No.1 Connecticut (28-2): Now this would be enough for UK fans united to get a Tubby Smith contract extension!


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