Indiana forward Noah Vonleh projected as top-5 NBA Draft pick

Indiana forward Noah Vonleh projected as top-5 NBA Draft pick.

Vonleh projected as top-5 pick on NBA Draft day

After Indiana’s Noah Vonleh won Big Ten Freshman of the Year, the Haverhill, Mass., native declared for the NBA Draft. Vonleh had good reason to do so, after averaging 11.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, leading the Big Ten in rebounding.

Ever since the NBA Draft combine in May, Vonleh has shot up draft boards. Vonleh measured in with a 7’4 ¼ wingspan, a 37-inch vertical, and an 11.75-inch hand width, the second largest ever measured at the combine (Greg Smith measured with a 12-inch hand width, in 2011).

Below are Vonleh’s other measurements from the Combine:

- Height without shoes: 6’8
– Heaight with shoes: 6’9 ½
– Weight: 247.1
– Wingspan: 7’4 ¼
– Standing reach: 9’0
– Body fat %: 7.3
– Hand length: 9.75″
– Hand width: 11.75″

In the period of time between the Combine and Draft, Vonleh has worked out for six teams, all of which have one of the first eight picks in tonight’s draft:

June 2 – Sacramento
June 4 – Los Angeles Lakers
June 9 – Orlando (reported by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman)
June 11 – Boston
June 16 – Utah
June 18 – Philadelphia (reported by Yahoo! Sports Marc Spears)

In recent mock drafts, Vonleh has been picked to go as high as 3rd overall to the Philadelphia 76ers. Most of the mock drafts have Vonleh going 5th overall to the Utah Jazz. Here are the current Draft projections, as of June 25:

- Cbssports.com’s Gary Parrish: No. 5 to Utah
– ESPN’s Chad Ford: No. 4 to Orlando
– ESPN’s Jeff Goodman: No. 3 to Philadelphia
– Yahoo! Sports Marc Spears: No. 5 to Utah
– Sports Illustrated’s composite: No. 5 to Utah
– Draft Express: No. 5 to Utah
– NBADraft.net: No. 5 to Utah
– ESPN The Magazine: No. 5 to Utah

Vonleh’s large hands have made quite the splash at the NBA Combine and beyond.

In a June 24 article for the Boston Globe, Boston Celtics reporter Baxter Holmes talks with multiple NBA scouts and executives about Vonleh, who agree that Vonleh’s physical tools make him one of the most intriguing picks in this year’s draft class.

An anonymous Eastern Conference scout, quoted in the Globe article:

“Big trunk, huge legs. Big calves.

“For someone that young with the skill set and size and how hard he plays, I don’t think you miss with him, unless he’s absolutely, totally messed up inside in the head, which it doesn’t seem like he is.
“Again, with his youth, you have a piece of clay. You have an unfinished product, and you’re going to be able to mold him any way that you want, and I think there’s a ton of value in that.

“The thing that brings me pause a little bit is just his lack of experience,” said one Eastern Conference executive. “He’s young. And a lot of people love that. I love that. But if you’re going to draft him top-10 and you want him to help you today, he’s going to take his lumps.”

An Eastern Conference executive raised a question about Vonleh’s athleticism.

“The big thing negative-wise is he doesn’t play off the ground a ton,” the executive said. “He’s not a super-high athlete.’’

“Around the rim, he does a lot of fading away. Because of that lack of athleticism, he’s not going to go into somebody and try to dunk on them. He’s going to try to control his body and switch stuff up.’’

“As a power forward, that’s something that I’m not crazy about, because you want a guy who will go through him. If you can get around the lack of athleticism . . . because when he catches it in the post, he always pump fakes. He knows he can’t get up over guys, so he tries to catch them off-guard, off-balance.

“If he can learn to maybe get some crafty finishing moves and work around the lack of explosion, I think he’ll be just fine.”

The 2014 NBA Draft will kick off tonight at 7:30 ET, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Make sure to watch to see where Vonleh and his other draftmates go.

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Hagues Tweak Leads to Power Streak | Indianapolis Indians News

Hagues Tweak Leads to Power Streak | Indianapolis Indians News.

Two-Time IL Hits Leader Has Already Surpassed HR Total from 2013

06/08/2014 12:53 PM ET

The International League’s base hits leader for two of the last three seasons has made an adjustment to his swing. Here are his results thus far:

With runners on first and second in the first inning of the Indians’ June 1 game against Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Matt Hague stepped into the batters box.

Hague was looking for a pitch inside, and he got it. Scranton’s starting pitcher, Bruce Billings, threw a two-seam fastball in, meeting Hague’s bat and landing over the fence in left field, his seventh of the season and first at Victory Field.

Hague was looking for a pitch inside, and he got it. Scranton’s starting pitcher, Bruce Billings, threw a two-seam fastball in, meeting Hague’s bat and landing over the fence in left field. The homer gave the two-time Tribe Most Valuable Player Hague his seventh longball of the season and first at Victory Field since Aug. 22, 2012.

“It showed up in the zone I was looking – fastball in – and threw the barrel to it,” Hague said.

Hague’s blast Sunday was his seventh of the season. In the series finale against Scranton the following evening, Hague would hit another home run, his eighth. Three days later, dinger nine, more than his entire home run total from all of last year.

This tear was a stark contrast to earlier this season, where Hague wasn’t seeing as much playing time as he had in years past.

Hague – in his fourth campaign with the Indians – is the longest tenured member of the Indians since the team moved to Victory Field in 1996. He played in 142 games last season alone, batting .285 while amassing a league-leading 153 hits with eight homers and 37 doubles. This season, however, Hague made a start in the Tribe’s home opener, before seeing his playing time begin to taper off.

One season removed from appearing in 142 of 144 games, Hague found himself held out of one – sometimes two – consecutive games before seeing the field again.

That’s old news as the season turns to June, though. Hague has experienced a resurgence both in terms of playing time and production at the plate. As a near-everyday player for the first-place Indians, he has already exceeded last season’s home run totals after his 49th game of 2014. The power uptick, according to Hague, stems from the beginning of the season, where a “tweak” to his swing has led to more power and consistency.

“I think just tweaking [mechanics] here and there,” Hague said of his new-found power stroke. “I was actually going to start off with just playing around with [his swing], and then I took a round of batting practice and it felt really good. That’s kind of where it started.”

As Hague tells it, his 3-for-9 effort in a series with Toledo doubled his average from .111 to .222, and featured a smashed triple for his lone three-bagger on the year. Hague says that’s where he and Indians hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo first started experimenting with his batting stance.

“I think just a lot of self-analysis, a lot of working with Pags, as far as getting involved with my legs and my hips more,” Hague says. “This year, so far it’s paid off…It’s been a lot of work and I’m just trying to be as consistent as I can.”

Hague explains that the tweak he and Pagliarulo made involved widening his stance at the plate. As he loads his body in preparation for a pitch, he says he focuses on keeping and holding his head, and thus momentum, on his back leg. Hague says that by doing so, it allows his hands to “work out more,” adding more momentum while creating more power from his torso and lower body.

For Hague, it’s not the first swing change of his career, as the Tribe’s MVP admits he has undergone various overhauls to his swing. But this year’s adjustment isn’t a swing “change.” Only a tweak.

“I don’t really like saying I changed my swing,” Hague says. “But this new tweak definitely makes my legs more tired, which is obviously a good thing because that means it’s actually working my legs.”

The results have shown. Included with his team-leading homer total, the most since his MLB debut season in 2011, Hague’s slugging percentage is also up last year’s .407 to this season’s .468 mark. Hague has begun turning those gap-shot, one- or two-base hits from 2013 into 2014 round trippers. Entering June 6, he’s hit nine homers to his five doubles.

Although he adjusted his stance two weeks into the season during that Toledo series in April, Hague says he feels like the tweak is already ingrained in his swing.

“I feel like it was a long time ago, (when really) it was only like a month and a half ago,” he said.

Then again, his amount of action on the field wasn’t quite the same a month and a half ago as it is today. Neither was his emphasis on a thorough consistency in the box.

“When you get consistent at-bats, it’s easier to get in a groove than when you’re not (playing),” Hague says. “I don’t think, personally, I was doing a very good job of when I wasn’t playing of getting my work in, as far as trying to get consistent with certain things…Playing every day these last couple weeks has helped me out a lot.”

Hague again stressed the key notion of a minor tweak. A simple adjustment to add to an already refined swing, which helped Hague reach base in a team-high 25 consecutive games – two more than his longest streak of a standout 2013 campaign.

“I think the biggest thing in the box is just as long as you feel good and you feel comfortable, then go with [your swing],” Hague said. “If the adjustment didn’t feel comfortable, I wouldn’t do it. But it felt good and I have just kind of played with it from there.”

 

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Veteran Presence | International League News

Veteran Presence | International League News.

Dickerson & Polanco Working Together as Mentor-Protégé

05/22/2014 7:46 PM ET

In the Indianapolis Indians’ May 13 home game against the Pawtucket Red Sox, Chris Dickerson batted in the leadoff position. At the time, the former major league outfielder was on a tear, hitting safely in eleven consecutive games to raise his average from .281 to .317.

Batting two spots behind him was Gregory Polanco, one of minor league baseball’s premier prospects who appears in-line to eventually join a loaded Pittsburgh Pirates outfield.

After a rain delay postponed first pitch against the PawSox by 48 minutes, Dickerson and Polanco went to work. Leading off against former top prospect Rubby De La Rosa, Dickerson singled in his first trip to the plate. One batter later, Polanco scored Dickerson with an RBI double down the right field line to give the Indians an early 1-0 lead.

Once the Tribe batted around its lineup in the first, Dickerson returned to the plate and opened the second with a single to right field. Again, one batter later, Polanco would follow with an RBI knock, tripling and scoring Dickerson for the second straight frame.

As the Indians continued to have their way with De La Rosa, Dickerson recorded his third plate appearance in as many innings, drawing a two-out walk in the third before being left stranded by a groundout that ended the inning.

Dickerson then watched from the dugout as Polanco, for the first time that game, produced a base hit without scoring a run. As Polanco returned to the dugout, Dickerson approached the 22-year-old.

“Dude, that would have been the third one in a row,” Dickerson said of Polanco’s penchant for bringing him home. In return, Polanco responded, “I know. Right when I hit it, I thought that.”

Over the course of the season, Dickerson and Polanco have formed a mentor-protége relationship, with the major league veteran serving as a guide while the prospect makes a transition into a relatively unfamiliar position in right field. Polanco, a natural center fielder, has played 44 games in right field this year for the Indians, presumably to fit in a loaded Pirates outfield with Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte.

Fortunately, Dickerson knows what it’s like to be in Polanco’s position. Playing for the Cincinnati Reds organization from 2008-10, a roster headlined by outfield stalwarts Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn, Dickerson had to make the transition to left field in order to see playing time.

“This is just one position that [Polanco's] got to learn,” Dickerson said. “He’s still got to learn left field because eventually you’re going to have to play all three (outfield positions) just like I did.”

Though his league-leading .374 average may hide it, Polanco’s time in right field has had its missteps. After a solid start to the season defensively, Polanco has since committed four errors in his last 11 games, a stretch that included at least one error in three consecutive games during a series against Pawtucket.

Polanco knows his next step is now adjusting from any miscues and mishaps from the new position. A process, he says, in which Dickerson has continued to be extremely helpful as Polanco adapts to the new position.

“He’s been helping me a lot,” Polanco said. “The position, the angles – how to break to the ball. He’s been helping me a lot and I appreciate it.”

Dickerson elaborated on Polanco’s progress, suggesting, “He’s learning. It’s about getting him to understand his surroundings: Looking at the wind, knowing exactly what’s going to happen, knowing where the ball is going to take, when the ball is going to take away from me, when the ball is getting pushed away from me, when its getting pushed back to me.”

As Polanco learns from Dickerson in the field, the two have gone tit-for-tat with each other at the plate.

Entering play on May 20, Polanco and Dickerson were batting .389 and .342, good for the top two averages in the International League. In April, Polanco notched a 10-game hitting streak; In May, Dickerson extended his own streak to 16 games. Polanco has also accounted for nearly half of Dickerson’s runs scored, batting him in 11 times and, in-turn, Dickerson has crossed home for 11 of Polanco’s 39 RBI.

While their numbers are certainly important, the relationship runs deeper than just statistics in a box score. When Dickerson missed a stretch of games in April with an injury, his absence from the lineup moved Polanco to seek Dickerson out in hopes of talking him onto the lineup card.

“When I got injured,” Dickerson said, “[Polanco] kept coming up to me and saying, ‘I miss you in the lineup; Every time you get on base, I drive you in.'”

Even if said somewhat in jest, the underlying message remains: You push me, I’ll push you.

“It’s kind of like a benefactor thing,” Dickerson continued. “I’m going to get on for you. I’m going to make it as easy as possible for you. Just drive me in.”

Polanco, who Dickerson describes as “really, really quiet,” has been grateful for the advice. And the oft-humble prospect wasn’t soft-spoken about that at all.

“He’s always teaching me something,” Polanco said.

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Don’t Run on Decker « The Inside Pitch

Don’t Run on Decker « The Inside Pitch.

Jaff Decker says he treats the outfield like playing on a playground. And some people just aren’t allowed on his playground.

Ask Brad Glenn, for example, who Decker cut down at the plate – by a country mile – on Memorial Day.

“In left (field), you get more chances to throw more people out,” Decker said.

When the opportunity has presented itself, Decker has indeed thrown base runners out. Through the month of May, Decker is second in the International League with nine outfield assists, including nailing four would-be runs at the plate. He even threw out two Buffalo Bisons runners at home in the same game on May 26.

Decker’s arm strength dates back to his time as a pitcher for Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria, Ariz., where the two-way player said his fastball clocked speeds of 94 or 95 miles per hour.

As a freshman, Decker pitched on his school’s varsity team. As a senior, he threw a no-hitter on Opening Day. And between, Decker played the outfield, culminating in his award as the Arizona Baseball Player of the Year in 2007-08.

Decker earned a scholarship to Arizona State, where he was recruited to continue his prowess as a two-way star. But although he had everything arranged for him in Tempe, Decker passed on a collegiate career and instead opted to go pro as the San Diego Padres’ 1st-round pick in the 2008 MLB Draft.

“I got drafted where I wanted to (42nd overall),” Decker said of his decision to bypass Arizona State. “Things were close to home. Their (Padres) spring training complex was five minutes from my house so it was a pretty easy decision.”

In 2008, his first year in the minor leagues, Decker didn’t take the mound for any games with the Padres’ Arizona League team. He was strictly an everyday player in the field, focusing solely on hitting and fielding full time.

That’s didn’t stop him from trying to pitch though. One time, early in his minor league career, Decker stepped onto the mound, hoping to get a chance to toss a few pitches offhand. Needless to say, his scouting coordinator at the time didn’t enjoy the extra enthusiasm to try out for the Club’s pitching staff.

“I had a butt chewin’ a little bit after that,” Decker said.

Decker, however, concedes it was easy for him to give up pitching in the rotation, suggesting he prefers to play every day as opposed to every fifth.

“It was easy for me because I don’t feel like I could throw every fifth day or wait seven innings to throw,” he says. “It’s too boring for me. I’ve got to hit every day and play every day.”

The power in Decker’s left arm has made a seamless transition to the outfield, where it seems that, at any moment, he can take down a base runner with a laser-like throw. He said the key to his powerful arm – from an unsuspecting frame – is getting behind the ball as much as possible to create the momentum needed to hurl the ball 300-plus feet to home plate.

“I can’t make it flat-footed, so I’ve got to really make an effort on coming through the ball and making the throw home.”

Decker, who believes he has the strongest arm on the Indians (“I’m not sure [on the numbers], but I think I have the assists to back it up,” he laughs) has had a successful first season in the Pirates organization. In 41 games for the Indians, he’s reached base at a .344 clip, racked up 20 RBI and slugged three homers, all which go along with his defensive contributions on the field.

In addition, Decker was also recalled to the big leagues on May 12, where he appeared in three games for the Tribe’s parent team, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Through the ups and downs of the campaign, where he hit .185 in his first 24 games before cranking out a .317 average in his last 19, Decker says his defensive abilities have always remained constant. And that attribute has been essential for a player who wants to do anything and everything to help his Club find the win column.

“It’s a good feeling when you’re not doing what you want at the plate and you can still affect the game on defense,” Decker said.

“It’s how I came up. If you can effect the game in anyway – defense, offense, on the bases – you can go home and sleep a little bit easier at night if another part of the game wasn’t working.”

 

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Irwin in the Pen | Indianapolis Indians News

Irwin in the Pen | Indianapolis Indians News.

Early in the morning on Tuesday May 6, Indianapolis Indians relief pitcher Phil Irwin was still up watching an extra-inning battle between the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants.

As the game wore on, Irwin became hopeful. The Pirates, the Indians’ major league affiliate, would use seven pitchers in the 13-inning contest – including then-former Indians starting pitcher Jeff Locke – in an 11-10 loss to the Giants.

At the time, the Indians were in Moosic, Penn., battling through a four-game series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. As Irwin watched Pittsburgh’s game wear on through the early hours of the morning, his in-room hotel phone began to ring with Tribe manager Dean Treanor waiting on the other end of the line.

Irwin picked up the phone and listened in bemusement as Treanor told him he had tried calling his cell phone first.

“Well, I left it in Indianapolis in the bathroom when we flew out,” Irwin said, recalling what he told Treanor. “I haven’t had it in five days. (Treanor) was like, ‘Alright, well, you’re going to Pittsburgh.'”

It was the second time Irwin has been called up to the big leagues – the first roughly a year prior on April 14, 2013 – and much had changed since his MLB debut. Namely, the shutdown reliever was then working as a top-of-the rotation starter, until his recent injury caused a setback.

Last July, Irwin continued to feel a lingering discomfort and opted for ulnar nerve transposition surgery on his right elbow. He said the pain originated with a tingling and numbness in his fingers during his stint in Pittsburgh.

“I went out, just played catch and threw my bullpen,” Irwin said. “I just barely got through my bullpen, it was killing me.”

The Pirates sat Irwin out for two and a half weeks, hoping that the rest from the season would allow his arm to heal. As Irwin resumed his full workout and neared a return, the righty decided he wasn’t quite ready to rejoin the Club. Stated bluntly, he said, “No, I’m not doing it.”

Irwin attempted to ease back into his normal role, but following a lone rehab outing with Hi-A Bradenton, he decided to undergo surgery.

Fast forward through a successful 2014 spring training with the Pirates, and Irwin says his arms “feels good now.” But to meet the wear and tear from pitching, be it in a game or bullpen session, Irwin now heavily ices his right elbow and shoulder.

“It’s just part of my routine,” Irwin said. “I’ve been hurt a lot. I’m doing everything I can to keep my shoulder and elbow healthy.

“I really need to stay off the [disabled list] this year. If you’re not pitching then you’re not going to go up, you’re not going to accomplish a lot of things you want to accomplish.”

Back in his hotel room in Moosic, Irwin would wait just eight more hours before catching a connecting flight from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. As soon as he touched down, he hopped into a car from the Pirates’ vehicle service, raced to PNC Park and swung into the stadium just in time for the team’s pre-game stretching session.

Irwin spent two games with the Pirates, both of which saw starting pitchers Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole work eight innings. A self-described “long reliever,” Irwin’s revamped arm was kept in waiting out in the bullpen.

After the Pirates’ Wednesday afternoon game, Irwin was called into Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle’s office, where he was informed he would return to Triple-A Indianapolis to continue working out of the first-place team’s bullpen.

Despite not seeing any MLB action, Irwin said his recall to Pittsburgh put him at ease.

“I finally got to sit back and watch a couple games and realize it was just a normal game and nothing’s any different (between levels),” he said. “So as long as I go out there and pitch my game, I can have success.”

Irwin’s game included two starts for the Indians this season before shifting to a fulltime bullpen role for the first time of his career. On Sunday, May 11, against the visiting Norfolk Tides, Irwin pitched two scoreless innings while picking up his first career save – “On any level of baseball,” he said.

Irwin has appeared in nine Indians games this year as of May 13. After seeing his ERA balloon to 17.65 through his first four appearances, Irwin has come into his own as a reliever, allowing just one run over his last five games and 12.2 innings pitched.

This month alone, Irwin was yet to give up either a run or walk in 7.1 IP, while striking out eight.

The right-hander said he likes the adrenaline that relief-pitching offers, suggesting it puts him in the zone faster than operating as a starting pitcher. That, plus he also knows relief pitching may take him back up to Pittsburgh this season.

Taking his two MLB games in stride, Irwin has seen things begin to fall in place as he progresses through the campaign: He says his arm feels great. He’s pitching better. Now he just needs an opportunity.

“If we end up making a run at it to October, I want to be a part of that.”

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Irwin in the Pen | Indianapolis Indians News

Irwin in the Pen | Indianapolis Indians News.

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Won in the paint | NCAA.com

Won in the paint | NCAA.com.

John Bauernfeind | NCAA.com
Last Updated – Apr 6, 2014 01:32 EDT
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Before Traevon Jackson’s last-second shot spun off the rim, before Aaron Harrison hit another dramatic 3-pointer to give his team a lead late in the game, there was a play that personified Kentucky’s 74-73 national semifinal victory against Wisconsin on Saturday night as Harrison lobbed a pass in the direction of teammate Marcus Lee.

Guarding Lee was Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky. The West Region’s Most Outstanding Player, Kaminsky backpedaled as Lee glided closer to the hoop.

With his back facing Lee, Kaminsky leaped with both hands in the air, hoping to grab the ball rather than swat.

As Harrison’s pass reached the two big men, Lee extended his arms and grabbed the ball, throwing down a two-handed dunk over the head of Kaminsky.

Lee’s dunk was one of 46 Kentucky points in the paint. Lee, along with Kentucky big men Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress, combined to score 38 of their team’s 74 points.

Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan was blunt in his depiction of how Kentucky used its size to its advantage.

“Well, they didn’t exploit it. They just used it,” Ryan said. “I mean, it’s not like you didn’t know. It’s just very difficult to try when they’re putting their heads down or they’re driving in there as hard as they can, and we’re trying to get our bodies in front.”

Those four also shared duties guarding Kaminsky, who had his worst game of the 2014 NCAA tournament. Kaminsky, who came into Saturday’s contest averaging 18.5 points and six rebounds per game in tournament play, finished with eight points and five rebounds. His eight points tied for his lowest offensive output of the tournament, when he scored eight points in a 75-35 win against American in the second round.

Kaminsky took only one shot in the first half, an up-and-under layup.

Kentucky made sure Kaminsky didn’t get the ball down low on the block, and when he did, one or more Wildcats would swarm Kaminsky, forcing him to pass. For the game, Kaminsky took only seven shots.

When it was over, he sat in his uniform in front of his dressing stall, hands clasped in front of him. His head was down and his voice was soft. “We played well,” he said, “but we didn’t play well enough to win. … We just didn’t make enough plays on the inside.

“I knew they were going to game plan for me and my teammates. They devised a good enough game plan to win.”

When asked about Kentucky’s presence inside, Kaminsky said, “They’re great basketball players. They were physical inside. They know how to play. That’s why they’re going to the NBA.”

Kentucky head coach John Calipari said the plan was for the Wildcats to throw several defenders at Kaminsky throughout the game.

“Well, one, I thought Dakari could play him some,” Calipari said. “Dakari could put that big body on him a little bit. Then we wanted to play all kinds of different people on him. We wanted Alex to guard him some, we wanted Julius to guard him some.”

Kaminsky and Wisconsin were held to 24 points in the paint. And even though Wisconsin matched the number of defensive rebounds Kentucky grabbed with 21, the Wildcats pulled down 11 offensive rebounds. Those additional opportunities led to 23 second-chance points for Kentucky, compared to 10 for Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s Duje Dukan scored eight points and managed five rebounds in 15 minutes of game time. The junior forward Dukan said Kentucky’s aggressiveness on the offensive glass came back to bite the Badgers.

“You can look at so much film, and you can watch them, but the amount of force they come with and how aggressive they are to the glass you really can’t emulate that in any other way until you experience it,” Dukan said. “We talked about it as one thing that we needed to address. I think that was definitely one thing that they killed us on, and it definitely hurt us.”

Wisconsin made six more 3-pointers than Kentucky did. The Badgers had more assists, more blocks and made 19 of their 20 free-throw attempts. The miss, the first of three attempts by Jackson with 16.4 seconds to play, became a difference in the game.

Trailing with 1:15 to play, Kaminsky tried to overcome the threshold of the Kentucky front line. After Jackson missed a mid-range jumper, Kaminsky pulled down the offensive rebound and scored, tying the game at 71. It would be Wisconsin’s last field goal of the game.

Harrison’s game-winning 3-point shot over Josh Gasser immediately became part of Kentucky history. But the game was won in the paint, where the imposing Wildcats soared over Kaminsky and his teammates to earn a chance to win a ninth NCAA championship.

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