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Final Four notebook: Kentucky’s Cauley-Stein might play

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein has not ruled the possibility of playing in Saturday’s national semifinal game against Wisconsin despite an ankle injury that kept him out of the Wildcats’ victory over Michigan on Sunday.

“I’m not really sure [if I’ll play],” Cauley-Stein said Friday, according to “I will say that it is getting better day by day. I mean, it just kind of depends on how I’m feeling that day or what the doctors are saying or what Coach is saying.”

Kentucky coach John Calipari said Monday that he doubted Cauley-Stein would see action in the Final Four.

However, Cauley-Stein said he is no longer on crutches and got rid of the protective boot on Thursday.

“When I first injured it (in Friday’s victory over Louisville), I couldn’t even walk on it,” Cauley-Stein said. “I couldn’t put [any] pressure on it. I was crutchin’ for three days. I got rid of the crutches [Thursday]. I just said I’m not crutchin’. And then I had the boot on a little bit, and I said I’m not going to wear the boot. So I just threw on the shoes.

“I was kind of walking flat-footed yesterday. Today, I’m walking heel-to-toe and kind of been stretching it out. Before, I couldn’t move it at all. Now I can move it back and forth. It’s getting a lot better.”

In Cauley-Stein’s absence, freshman Marcus Lee received more playing time against Wisconsin and contributed 10 points and eight rebounds.

—Only one player has started all 38 games for Florida this season, as it prepares for Saturday’s game against Connecticut.

That one player is Will Yeguete, which is surprising given Yeguete’s history. He broke his left foot at the end of his sophomore season, then twive had surgery on his right knee, the second being an incapacitating microfracture surgery.

— Florida had its share of early-season problems.

Point guard Scottie Wilbekin was suspended for the first five games of the season. It was the second time in an eight-month span that Wilbekin was suspended for a violation of team rules.

Sixth man Dorian Finney-Smith was suspended for the first two games of the season for violating team rules as well.

Chris Walker had to sit out the first 21 games of the season before he was cleared by the NCAA to play.

Now the No. 1-seeded Gators are at full strength when it matters most.

—The Final Four is in Arlington, Texas, and the last time the Final Four came to this neighborhood, Ronald Reagan was president.

It was 1986, and Louisville beat Duke 72-69 to win the championship behind Pervis Ellison.

—The first time the Connecticut’s Huskies were in AT&T Stadium, the place was empty. That was in January, and the Huskies were in Dallas to play SMU.

Coach Kevin Ollie arranged a tour of the stadium for his players.

“Everyone knows Coach Ollie’s a Dallas Cowboys fan,” UConn guard Shabazz Napier said. “He definitely was enjoying it for that reason. But it was definitely a motivational thing. He wanted us to feel that atmosphere, even though there was no one there, besides us. He wanted us to see what it would feel like being out there, looking around, looking at the empty seats, envisioning there were people there, rooting you on.”

—Wisconsin is the only team in the nation this year to win a game while scoring in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 100s.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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