Only in Indiana will you find 40,000 spectators spending their spring break in cold, damp weather while most people sit on a warm, sandy beach in Florida. That was the case this weekend as the NCAA Midwest Regionals took place at Lucas Oil Stadium. Fans from all over Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee migrated to Indianapolis to spend their spring break watching basketball. The money spent by visitors made the city of Indianapolis and Lucas Oil Stadium the real winners, but back to the real story, the games. Sunday at Lucas Oil, the Kentucky Wildcats, in a game to be talked about for weeks to come, beat the Michigan Wolverines in a battle to be crowned Midwest Regional champion.
In front of 35,551 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday night, the No. 8 seeded Wildcats advanced to the Final Four in Dallas, Texas by defeating the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines 74-69. The Wildcats did not advance easily as the Wolverines battled each minute. The game was tight, as the largest lead came when Michigan led in the first half 32-22. But Kentucky never went away, rallying back to tie the game at 37 at the half.
The second half saw Kentucky open up a 7-point lead with help from Aaron Harrison, who was scoreless in the first half. But as luck would have it, the Wolverines battled back to tie it once again. An Aaron Harrison game-winning 3-point basket sealed the Wolverines fate.
Notable mentions: Michigan: (Indiana's own) Glenn Robinson III: 14 points and 4 rebounds, Nik Staukas: 24 points.
Kentucky: James Young: 13 points and 4 rebounds, Julius Randle: 16 points and 11 rebounds, Aaron Harrison: 12 points
Friday night's games filled the stands with a total of 41,072 fans as there were two games being played. The first was Michigan against Tennessee. The game seemed like it was going to be a blowout in the first half as the Wolverines went on a 21-7 run giving them an early lead. But after the halftime break, Tennessee came out fighting like the Volunteers are known to do. They brought the game within one point but an offensive foul on Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes in the final seconds allowed Nik Staukas to seal the deal.
Michigan: Glenn Robinson: 13 points and 5 rebounds, Jordan Morgan: 15 points and 7 rebounds, Nik Staukas: 14 points.
Tennessee: Jordan Mcrae: 24 points and 6 rebounds, Josh Richardson: 19 points, Jarnell Stokes: 11 points and 6 rebounds.
The late game Friday night was between Kentucky and Louisville. Both teams were a site to see as they could slam dunk the ball with attitude and did. The Cardinals looked like they had the Wildcats number when they went on a 14-1 run giving them a 18-5 lead. The Wildcats soon woke up and began to battle back, tying the game at 38 points. The Cardinals then took off, grabbing a seven-point lead before Kentucky fought back in the final few minutes. Aaron Harrison hit a late three-pointer to win the game and send the Wildcats to Midwest Regional Final.
Notable mentions for Louisville: Luke Hancock: 19 points, Montrezl Harrell: 15 points and 8 rebounds, Russ Smith: 23 points and 2 rebounds.
Brian Weiss contributed to this story.