ARLINGTON, Texas — Aaron Harrison did it again.
One game after Kentucky's freshman guard made the critical three-pointer to beat Michigan in the Midwest Region final, Harrison made a three-pointer from the wing with 5.7 seconds remaining to help give Kentucky a 74-73 victory against Wisconsin in a classic national semifinal at AT&T Stadium.
After a season that was nothing if not uneven, Kentucky — with all of its size, athleticism and pro prospects — finally looks like the team that was anointed the nation's top-ranked team four months ago.
The Wildcats will play UConn in a highly unlikely national championship matchup Monday night. Kentucky was a No. 8 seed in the Midwest; UConn was a No. 7 seed from the East Region.
BOX SCORE: Kentucky 74, Wisconsin 73
MARCH MADNESS: NCAA bracket hub
The last No. 8 seed to win the national title was Villanova in 1985.
It was a beautiful contrast in styles and philosophies that came down to the final seconds. And for on the largest stage in college basketball — in the largest stadium to host a Final Four — Kentucky and Wisconsin displayed two different ways to win, and win big, in college basketball.
With size, athleticism and a bevy of pro prospects, the Wildcats dazzled fans with resounding, alley-oop dunks and hard drives to the basket. And with experience and crisp passing, Wisconsin could not be shaken.
FINAL FOUR: Connecticut knocks off Florida
ANALYSIS: Five factors that decided UConn's win
With 16.4 seconds remaining, Wisconsin guard Traevon Jackson stepped back behind the three-point line and pump faked, causing Andrew Harrison to jump in the air and collide with Jackson on the way down. Given three free-throw attempts in a tie game, Jackson made two.
That was the only free throw Wisconsin missed all game, making 19 of 20.
And that set up Harrison to make the go-ahead three-point shot.
Kentucky started five freshmen, none shorter than 6-6. Wisconsin started three juniors and senior, with only two starters taller than 6-3.
The Badgers attacked Kentucky with reverse layups and backdoor passes. The Wildcats tried to exploit advantages in size and athleticism, barreling down the lane to try to draw contact. And when they missed, there is no better offensive rebounding team in the nation.
But for fans who have not followed the Badgers all season, this is not your typical Wisconsin team. This is the best offensive Wisconsin team in 20 years. They've had six different players lead the team in scoring this season – and all have done it at least three times. They were nation's only team to win a game by scoring in the 40s, the 100s and everywhere in between.
Wisconsin controlled the game for much of the first half — holding a four-point halftime lead — even though it was not totally evident on the scoreboard.
Jackson picked up his second foul with 11:53 left in the first half. That presented an opportunity for freshman Bronson Koenig, who had averaged 15.3 minutes and 3.3 points this season. In the first half alone Saturday, Koenig had 11 points in 16 minutes.
Trailing by seven points early in the second half, Kentucky blitzed Wisconsin with 15 unanswered points, showcasing a dizzying array of tip-ins and alley-oop dunks. It was Kentucky at its very best. The Wildcats dominated the Badgers in the paint all night.
And Harrison made the biggest shot of the season in the end.