UK Men's Basketball

Who will make it to the Final Four? We asked dozens of college basketball experts.

Journey to the Tourney: UK’s March Madness history

Kentucky is heading into the NCAA Tournament seeking their ninth National Championship. Here's a look back at how the program, along with Coach Calipari, has fared in March.
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Kentucky is heading into the NCAA Tournament seeking their ninth National Championship. Here's a look back at how the program, along with Coach Calipari, has fared in March.

If there’s to be a marquee NCAA Tournament rematch of this season’s opener — Duke’s 118-84 victory over Kentucky — it won’t happen until the national championship game.

According to a majority of the college basketball reporters polled by the Herald-Leader this week, that’s the most likely national title matchup April 8 in Minneapolis.

We asked 35 media members who cover college basketball — both locally and nationally — for their predictions heading into the NCAA Tournament, and 20 are picking both the Blue Devils and Wildcats to make it to the national championship game.

So, the good news for UK fans is there’s a lot of optimism around the Wildcats’ program heading into March Madness. The bad news: only four of the reporters we asked actually have Kentucky cutting down the nets in Minneapolis.

The Blue Devils are the clear favorite heading into this tournament. Only three of the media members in our poll had them getting beat before the Final Four, and 31 of 35 picked them to advance to the national title game. A total of 26 experts have Duke winning the championship.

Though the Cats are the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region, most of our experts — both locally and nationally — picked them to make it past top-seeded North Carolina and into the Final Four.

Virginia and Tennessee received near-equal support in the South Region, and the West Region looks to be the most wide-open in this bracket, with Gonzaga, Michigan, Texas Tech and Florida State all getting multiple votes to make it to the Final Four.

Five different teams — Duke, UK, North Carolina, Virginia and Gonzaga — were selected as national champions by at least one of our experts. Here are the full Final Four predictions:



EastSouthMidwestWestTitle game
John Clay, Herald-LeaderDukeVirginiaKentuckyTexas TechDuke over UVa
Mark Story, Herald-LeaderDukeTennesseeKentuckyFSUDuke over UK
Ben Roberts, Herald-LeaderDukeTennesseeKentuckyMichiganDuke over UK
Nicole Auerbach, The Athletic DukeTennesseeUNCMichiganUNC over Duke
Darrell Bird, The Cats’ PauseDukeTennesseeKentuckyGonzagaUK over Duke
Jeff Borzello, ESPNDukeVirginiaUNCTexas TechDuke over UVa
Rick Bozich, WDRBDukeVirginiaKentuckyMichiganDuke over UK
Curtis Burch, Big Blue InsiderDukeVirginiaKentuckyGonzagaUK over Duke
Chuck Culpepper, Washington PostDukeKansas St.WoffordFSUDuke over Wofford
Evan Daniels, 247SportsDuke VirginiaKentuckyTexas TechDuke over UK
Luke DeCock, Raleigh News & ObserverDukeVirginiaUNCTexas TechDuke over UNC
Mike DeCourcy, Sporting NewsDukeVirginiaKentuckyMichiganDuke over UK
Gregg Doyel, Indy StarDukeVirginiaKentuckyGonzagaDuke over UVa
Jeff Drummond, Cats IllustratedMichigan St.VirginiaKentuckyMichiganUK over MSU
Gentry Estes, Courier-JournalDukeVirginiaKentuckyMichiganDuke over UK
Dick Gabriel, Big Blue InsiderDukeVirginiaKentuckyTexas TechDuke over UK
John Gasaway, ESPNMichigan St.VirginiaKentuckyGonzagaUVa over Zags
Jeff Goodman, WatchStadium.comDukeVirginiaKentuckyGonzagaZags over UVa
Jeff Greer, The AthleticDukeTennesseeUNCGonzagaUNC over Duke
Jon Hale, Courier-JournalDukeTennesseeKentuckyMichigan Duke over UK
Lee K. Howard, WKYTDukeVirginiaKentuckyTexas TechDuke over UK
Matt Jones, Kentucky Sports RadioDukeTennesseeKentuckyMichiganDuke over UK
Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City StarDukeTennesseeKentuckyMichiganDuke over UK
Danielle Lerner, Courier-JournalDukeVirginiaKentuckyTexas TechDuke over UVa
Mark Mathis, Messenger-Inquirer DukeTennesseeKentuckyGonzagaDuke over UK
Brian Milam, WKYTDukeTennesseeUNCMichiganDuke over UNC
Matt Norlander, CBS SportsMichigan St.VirginiaUNCGonzagaUVa over Zags
Gary Parrish, CBS SportsDukeTennesseeUNCGonzagaDuke over UNC
Tim Sullivan, Courier-JournalDukeTennesseeUNCTexas TechDuke over UNC
Derek Terry, The Cats’ PauseDukeTennesseeKentuckyFSUDuke over UK
Tyler Thompson, Kentucky Sports RadioDukeTennesseeKentuckyMichiganUK over Duke
Kyle Tucker, The Athletic DukeTennesseeKentuckyMichigan Duke over UK
Larry Vaught, VaughtsViews.comDukeVirginiaKentuckyMichiganDuke over UK
Dan Wolken, USA TodayDukeVirginiaKentuckyMichiganDuke over UK
Adam Zagoria, ZagsBlog.comDukeVillanovaKentuckyGonzagaDuke over UK
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