The coaches are the same, the jerseys are the same and many of the players are the same from the Wildcats’ 74-73 win in last year’s Final Four. But at the same time, these are two different teams meeting in the national semifinal.
The most obvious change is with Kentucky. The Wildcats reached last year’s Final Four without an injured Willie Cauley-Stein and before freshmen Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles and Tyler Ulis arrived.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is trying to play coy that his team was not a Final Four contender from the start.
True, this was a Blue Devils team that lost three of six during a stretch in January, including a loss to Miami at home. But this was also a preseason top-four team that only solidified those credentials with 10-point wins over Michigan State and Wisconsin by early December, both away from Durham.
A new era of football begins in Lincoln this season as Mike Riley takes over at Nebraska.
The Huskers boast the best roster in the division and could be considered the front-runner in the West. Since joining the Big Ten, Nebraska hasn't gotten any favors from the schedule and that could once again be an issue in 2015.