Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, March 28, 2015

Frank Kaminsky scored 29 points, Sam Dekker added 27 and Wisconsin beat Arizona 85-78 on Saturday in an Elite Eight matchup. With the victory, the Badgers reach consecutive Final Fours for the first time in school history.

Here's senior writer Tom Dienhart's rapid reaction to the Badgers' victory.

The star: Frank Kaminsky or Sam Dekker. Take your pick. Big Frank showed why he was the Big Ten Player of the Year, hitting 9-of-20 shots for a game-high 29 points. Dekker connected on 8-of-11 shots for a career-high 27 points. It was the second game in a row Dekker notched a career-high after burning UNC for 23 on Thursday. This was the second year in a row that Wisconsin topped Arizona in the Elite Eight, beating the Wildcats in overtime 64-63 last season in Anaheim.

The stat: Some good ones to choose from, but how about the combined 56 points for Kaminsky and Dekker? The other Badgers combined for 29 points. Kaminsky is a real Arizona killer. He had 28 points and 11 rebounds last year vs. Arizona in the Elite Eight. He had 29 points and 6 boards today vs. the Wildcats.

The key to victory: The Badgers were smoking from 3-point range in the second half, hitting 10-of-12 from long range after going 2-of-6 from 3-point land in the first half. For the game, Wisconsin hit 12-of-18 3-pointers (66.7 percent) en route to 55 second-half points. Conversely, Arizona made just 2-of-6 from long range. That negated the Wildcats? 28-of-30 shooting from the charity stripe.

It was over when: A Frank Kaminsky reverse layup gave Wisconsin its largest lead of the game, 57-48, with 10:48 to play after trailing 33-30 at the half. The Badgers pushed their lead to as many as 11 in the second half. But the kill shot came later. With the shot clock running down in the final minute of the game and Wisconsin leading by five, Sam Dekker drained a monster 3-pointer with 20 seconds left in the contest that was a dagger in the heart of Arizona. That gave Wisconsin an 84-76 lead. Game over.

What?s next: Wisconsin will take on No. 1 Kentucky in the Final Four next Saturday in Indianapolis. This is the Badgers? second consecutive trip to the Final Four. Wisconsin lost to Kentucky in last year?s national semifinals, falling 74-73.

Notable: This is the first time in NCAA Tournament annals that schools have played in consecutive years with both being top-2 seeds. Last year, No. 1 Arizona lost to No. 2 Wisconsin. Today, No. 2 Arizona fell to No. 1 Wisconsin. The Badgers beat Arizona in Anaheim last year; they beat the Wildcats in Los Angeles this year.


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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