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Kentucky’s the favorite, but Indiana is a dangerous matchup

Mar 23, 2012, 12:33 PM EDT

Kentucky v Indiana Getty Images

Indiana played pretty close to a perfect game on December 10th.

That was the day that the Hoosiers, then undefeated but unranked, knocked off Kentucky in one of the season’s best games with one of the year’s most memorable shots.

Indiana shot 9-15 from three that day. They won the battle of the back boards, they put five players in double figures and they managed to get Anthony Davis — who never fouls — into foul trouble.

The problem, however, is that many of the issues that Kentucky faced they brought upon themselves. Like, for example, the fact that Terrence Jones spent much of the second half pouting about the fact that he wasn’t playing well. He finished the game with four points, one rebound and six turnovers in 28 minutes. Jones seems to have gotten his head screwed back on over the last couple of month, which should make him a different player.

The other issue is that while Davis did get in foul trouble against the Hoosiers the first time they played, that was basically the last time he’s had foul problems. In the 27 games he’s played since then, Davis has committed three fouls just four times, hasn’t picked up four fouls in a game and has gone without a foul three times.

Need I mention the fact that Marquis Teague is playing his best basketball of the season and Verdell Jones III is out with a torn ACL?

And you’re wondering why this game has all-but been given to Kentucky already?

That said, you’d be crazy to think that the Hoosiers won’t come to play. Remember, this is an Indiana team playing with house money right now. Not only have they already beaten Kentucky this season — having confidence you can win against a team of Kentucky’s stature is half the battle — but they’ve made it farther than anyone expected them to.

Indiana wasn’t supposed to be in the NCAA tournament this year, let alone in the Sweet 16. They were called overrated for months after their hot start. They were a trendy pick to get knocked off in the first weekend. And yet, here they are.

Playing the overwhelming favorite to win the national title who just so happens to be a heated rival.

Indiana has nothing to lose. And that’s what makes them so dangerous.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

  1. stlouis1baseball - Mar 23, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    “Remember, this is an Indiana team playing with house money right now. Not only have they already beaten Kentucky this season — having confidence you can win against a team of Kentucky’s stature is half the battle — but they’ve made it farther than anyone expected them to.”
    “Indiana wasn’t supposed to be in the NCAA tournament this year, let alone in the Sweet 16. They were called overrated for months after their hot start. They were a trendy pick to get knocked off in the first weekend.”
    I might add a .500+ record an an NIT berth would have been great.
    And YET…Tom Crean gets completely hosed in the Coach of the Year selection.

  2. florida727 - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    When I first saw the brackets, I was really excited about the potential of this game, but to be honest, I’m starting to think it won’t even be close. Indiana will NOT shoot 60% from deep again, and Terrence Jones will NOT sleepwalk through this one like he did in Bloomington.

    As far as Crean goes, how does this guy not win Coach of The Year in the Big 10? Izzo gets it. How? With the talent he had, he should have been punching a ticket to New Orleans. Instead, he’ll be on a recliner in his family room. Who the heck votes on these awards? Crean did more with less than almost any coach in America, let alone the Big 10. Renders the award meaningless when the obvious is bypassed.

  3. creek0512 - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Where did this myth that IU played a perfect game to beat UK come from? What is you definition of playing a perfect game? IU had 18 turnovers that game, which is pretty awful, and they only out rebounded UK by 2, 28-26. They also blew a 10 point lead down the stretch or they wound’t have needed Watford’s three to win. Sure they shot well, but they do that every game, IU is one of the best shooting teams in the country. And Hulls won’t be guarding Teague this game, so he won’t be able to get free layups whenever he wants this time.
    Indiana’s players have also improved this season, and Hulls, Roth and Watford still rain in the threes. Davis still had to try to guard Cody Zeller without fouling, he hasn’t had to guard anyone anywhere near as good as Zeller since the first meeting.

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