SHARE

March Madness hasn’t been kind to bas­ketball fans in Michigan.

Uni­versity of Detroit lost to Kansas in the first round — expected, but with two other 15 seeds beating pow­er­houses Duke and Mis­souri, there was a sense that Detroit might extend the streak.

Co-Big Ten Champion Uni­versity of Michigan’s first-round loss to the low-seeded Uni­versity of Ohio was unex­pected, however. And although the Sweet Sixteen is nice, Michigan State’s awful per­for­mance on offense against Louisville was a huge dis­ap­pointment for a team that, led by All-American Draymond Green, had a rel­a­tively easy path to the Final Four.

It’s been a dif­ferent story for Hillsdale’s Ohio natives. Four teams from the state next door — Xavier Uni­versity, Ohio State, Uni­versity of Cincinnati, and Uni­versity of Ohio — made the Sweet Sixteen. Ohio State is playing Kansas on Sat­urday for a spot in the National Cham­pi­onship.

Which doesn’t make things any better for the Michi­ganders. What is it about Ohio State and Xavier fans that makes us des­per­ately hope their teams will get blown out? Of course, that U of M fans despise the Buckeyes is a fact of life, but Xavier? Where is that even?

The good news is, the Ken­tucky Wildcats stand between Ohio State and a trophy. Ken­tucky starts three freshmen and two sopho­mores, and all five of them, plus star sixth man Darius Miller, are likely to head to the NBA after this season.

The Cats are scary. Player of the Year Anthony Davis’s mag­nif­i­cently nasty unibrow is matched only by his ability to score, rebound, and block shots. Ter­rence Jones looks — and plays — like he wants to eat you. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (pro­jected as the No. 2 pick in the upcoming draft, after Davis) led the Wildcats with 24 points and 10 boards as they put up 102 points last week against Indiana, the only team that beat Ken­tucky in the regular season. Six players average 10 or more points per game, and three average seven-plus rebounds.

It’s the Final Four, the Holy Grail of college bas­ketball, and Ken­tucky hasn’t even been tested yet. In-state rival Louisville has over­achieved to get to face the Cats this weekend, but that ride is about to end.

So good luck to the three teams not named Ken­tucky. If us Michi­ganders have our way, the Buckeyes will beat Kansas this weekend. There’s no humil­i­ation in a close, hard-fought defeat.

But the Wildcats are waiting.