Rematch: What UK Needs to Do Better This Time Against Indiana

03/20/2012 10:06 AM

If you ask me, Indiana is the exact Sweet Sixteen matchup Kentucky wanted. It’s a chance at redemption, and a chance for the fans to join in yet another rivalry game with even more at stake. After all, a game like this is what college basketball is all about.

Back in December, Christian Watford’s three-pointer surprised the country and ruined Kentucky’s otherwise perfect regular season. Watford’s shot was only the dagger, though. The Cats did a great deal wrong throughout that game. Here’s what Kentucky needs to do this time in order to avoid another barnburner.

First things first, Kentucky MUST get out on shooters. There is no other way humanly possible that Indiana can win. The Hoosiers shot 60% from three throughout that game. That’s a huge number considering they shot 9 for 15. Making them drivers instead of shooters allows for a Davis block party and fast break points down the other end. Watford, Sheehey, and Hulls were all on fire last matchup and will be coming in with confidence. Kentucky needs to limit open looks and force IU to beat them in the paint.

That leads me to Terrence Jones. If you can remember correctly, TJones started his midseason vacation the last time these two teams faced each other. He finished with just four points and had 6 turnovers to only 1 assist. Nonetheless with the way he’s been playing of late, along with Davis, Gilchrist, and Miller, Kentucky is just too powerful for the Hoosiers offensively and defensively. If everyone shows up ready to play, including Wiltjer, who is much more of a factor now, the Cats should own the paint at both ends.

With that being said, foul trouble played a huge role back in December. Kentucky has every weapon to overpower Indiana, but they must do it without fouling. The Hoosiers were 14-17 from the line and Davis was on the bench most of the first half when Indiana opened up a big lead. Indiana took that lead into halftime and the Cats were lucky it was only one point. In Atlanta, Kentucky needs to come out firing and controlling the tempo, something they didn’t do in Bloomington.

Like I said, Watford’s shot was just the dagger. As you can see with some of these stats, if Kentucky wasn’t so talented this game could’ve been a blowout early on. I’ll admit Indiana played phenomenally and made big shots when they needed them most, but the Cats had a perfect storm of bad things happen early in that game. The keys to the game for this rematch are simple: Win the rebound battle, get out on all shooters and make them drivers, and play without fouling.

My prediction is Kentucky 76 – Indiana 61.


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