Andrew Harrison made two free throws with six seconds remaining, and the top-seeded Wildcats kept their unbeaten season and national title hopes intact with a 68-66 win over Notre Dame on Saturday night in the Midwest Regional final.
The Wildcats (38-0) advanced to the Final Four in Indianapolis next week, where they will meet Wisconsin.
It took everything Kentucky had to hold off the Fighting Irish (32-6), who came within seconds of shocking the tournament's overwhelming favourite. Notre Dame, which has a history of stunning upsets in football and basketball, wasn't done until Jerian Grant's double-clutched 3-pointer from the left corner was long.
Kentucky's bench stormed the floor and the Wildcats celebrated knowing they had ducked a major challenge.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 25 to lead Kentucky. Saskatoon's Trey Liles had nine points and five rebounds.