Arch rivals that meet every single season have their most important clash in decades in the Sweet 16, where the Indiana Hoosiers will look for their second win of the year against the Kentucky Wildcats.
You just know that Head Coach John Calipari is going to be spending all week showing his team tape from the way that the fans in Bloomington erupted when that last shot went in at the buzzer to knock off the Cats when the teams met earlier this season. Until the loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores in the SEC Tournament Final, it was the only loss that UK had all season long, and it was really the only blemish whatsoever on an otherwise pristine plate. Thus far in the dance, the offense for the Wildcats has looked scary to say the least. The SEC Tournament was a bit drab, but since starting dance, Kentucky has dropped 81 on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and 87 on the Iowa State Cyclones. Though the Big Blue Nation is just 1-1 ATS in those two games, neither one was in all that much doubt, particularly in the second half. The question remains whether Marquis Teague, a young freshman point guard, is going to be able to carry the load for the backcourt for this team. He has answered the bell in the first two games of the tourney, coming up with a total of 36 points, 11 assists, and six boards against just five turnovers, and if he keeps playing like this, it is going to be tough for the Hoosiers or any other team to stop him.
There is no doubt that the win that the Hoosiers scored at Assembly Hall earlier this year over UK was the biggest that they have had in the Head Coach Tom Crean era. It truly is remarkable how far this team has come thanks to the fact that Cody Zeller has come to town, and Crean and the Hoosiers know that this could be just the beginning of a return to prominence in the Big Ten. Zeller had a great game against the VCU Rams in the Round of 32, scoring 16 points and coming down with 13 rebounds. The man that everyone knows well at IU though, is Christian Watford, the man that hit the shot from the outside that beat the Wildcats. He has score 30 points in the two games here in the tourney, and he now has seven straight games scoring in double digits after some suspect games in the middle of February in which he was virtually held without a single basket.
The Final Word: In the end, we would love to think that the Hoosiers are going to be able to play with Kentucky again, but we just don’t see it. IU is a great team that has had a great year and a solid run in the tourney, but in the end, this is a tournament that seems to be destiny for the Wildcats. We really don’t think that this game is going to really be all that close.
Kentucky Wildcats vs. Indiana Hoosiers Pick: Kentucky Wildcats -9
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.