The No.1-ranked team at the beginning of the 2013-14 college basketball season was Kentucky, with an incoming group of highly talented freshmen who have NBA aspirations.

After an up-and-down season, the resurgent Wildcats are hoping to be back in the No. 1 spot at the end of the season. Kentucky has a date with Wisconsin in the NCAA Final Four on Saturday. The winner of that game will face the winner of the Florida vs. Connecticut game for the national championship a week from tonight.

And after the way they have played the past four NCAA tournament games, the Wildcats are becoming one of the Final Four favorites.

Despite having a team with with five freshmen starters, the Wildcats are in their third Final Four in the past four years. Kentucky won the title in 2012.

But when the NCAA tournament seedings came out on March 16, Kentucky was given a relatively low No. 8 seed. (Wisconsin is a No. 2 seed.)

"Everyone knew a No. 8 seed for John Calipari’s team was a joke," wrote Chris Chase of USA Today.

Adam Himmelsbach of Louisville Courier-Journal wrote: "The Wildcats have as good of a chance as anyone, and they are the No. 8 seed that no one wants to mess with."

The reason the Wildcats didn't get a higher seed? They had lost four of their eight games leading up to the tournament, although twice to current No. 1 Florida.

But the Wildcats are red-hot, and oddsmakers in Las Vegas like them to defeat the Badgers. The opening line has been set with Kentucky as a 2-point favorite over Wisconsin.

"Kentucky is theoretically the underdog: an 8 seed, seemingly hopeless before the tournament started, and so dysfunctional on the court that I wrote that Kentucky had no chance of winning the national title and didn't have a single UK fan offer to remove my teeth," wrote Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated. "I was obviously wrong, but who are we kidding? This is the most talented team in the tournament."

Mark Titus of Grantland says that "Kentucky is the most-feared team in the Final Four. ... Florida is the best team. UConn has the guy I’d want to have the ball with the game on the line in (Shabazz) Napier. Wisconsin has the most-feared individual player in (Frank) Kaminsky. But Kentucky is the team that nobody wants a piece of right now. The Wildcats finally have everybody playing well at the same time and, most important, they’re getting more confident with each passing day."

This Kentucky team is the first group of five starting freshmen to reach the Final Four since Michigan’s "Fab Five" in 1992. That Michigan team lost in the national championship game.

"Kentucky won the 2012 national championship behind coach John Calipari's get-the-best-players-no-matter-how-long-they-stay philosophy," wrote John Marshall of the Associated Press. "Cal brought in another heralded group of one-and-doners and they were touted as the team to beat, ranked No. 1 in the preseason."

C.L. Brown of ESPN highlighted the talent level of the Wildcats: "Kentucky was the preseason No. 1 team in the nation for a reason. It has the most talent from 1-15 than any team remaining. The key for coach John Calipari has been getting them to play together instead of being individuals."

And if writers weren't singing the praises of Kentucky, they were again discounting the Badgers' chances.

"Wisconsin is one of the best defensive teams in the country, but their defense is no match for the overwhelming talent and athleticism of Kentucky," wrote Taylor Sturm of Rant Sports. "The Wildcats' biggest problem all season long has been turnovers, and they’ve averaged just around 12 per game in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have played three straight games down to the wire, whereas Wisconsin’s only challenge was against the Arizona Wildcats. Like all of Kentucky’s other games, expect a tight one that the Wildcats pull away from at the end."

Another writer for Rant Sports, Cody Daniel, pulled out the "Badgers are less talented" mantra again, despite other writers saying the same thing about Wisconsin prior to its victories against the "more talented" Oregon, Baylor and Arizona teams.

"And of course, John Calipari will refuse to look ahead to the Final Four, but Kentucky must be salivating over the possibility of playing the significantly less talented Wisconsin Badgers," Daniel wrote. "It seems to be a paved path to the national championship game for Kentucky, and considering the recent surge they are on, the Wildcats have come too far to lose now."