Mar 30, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT
On Sunday, we will be breaking down the final two Elite 8 matchups. Here is our look at No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 8 Kentucky:
WHEN: Sunday, 5:05 p.m. (TBS)
WHERE: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis (Midwest Region)
MAJOR STORY LINES: Michigan will be looking to get back to their second straight Final Four on Sunday afternoon, but that’s not going to be the story line that everyone is talking about. Kentucky’s emergence is. After five long — excruciating for the folks of Lexington — months, this group of future NBA Draft picks finally are playing up to their potential. They’ve beaten Wichita State and Louisville in their last two games, and for the first time all season long, they actually look like a contender.
KEY STATS: That’s simple: offensive rebounds. Even with Willie Cauley-Stein out of the lineup, Kentucky’s front line is as big and as athletic as anyone in the country. They pound the offensive glass as well, grabbing 42.1% of their misses, which is the second highest rate in the country. And Michigan? They have no where near as much size up front. That didn’t hurt them against Tennessee, however, who is just as good at getting to the offensive glass as Kentucky is.
KEY PLAYERS: The difference during this three game run in the NCAA tournament has been the Harrison twins. They are finally playing like the guys that were ranked in the top ten of every recruitniks rankings. They’re hitting jump shots, they’re making plays off the dribble, they’re creating assists, they’re not turning the ball over. Andrew Harrison in particular has been sensational.
POINT SPREAD: Kentucky (-2)
THREE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
1. Nik Stauskas: He’s Michigan’s best player. Michigan will need him to play like it.
2. How much zone does Kentucky play?: As weird as this sounds, Kentucky’s 2-3 zone has actually been a really effective tool for them defensively. And while Michigan can shoot the ball as well as any team in the country, playing them zone can give them issues as they don’t have the kind of playmakers up front that will help them beat it.
3. Jordan Morgan vs. Julius Randle: Morgan’s importance to this team has been underrated since Mitch McGary’s back ended his season. He was physical enough inside to keep Jarnell Stokes in check on Friday night. He’ll have to do the same on Sunday to Randle for Michigan to win.
CBT PREDICTION: Kentucky
- UPDATED: 2015-2016 College Basketball Way-Too-Early Preseason Rankings 0
- 2015 College Basketball Updated Early Entry List 14
- Report: Yogi Ferrell to return to Indiana for senior season 0
- Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor returning for junior season 1
- EYBL Day 1: Jayson Tatum vs. Michael Porter Jr.; De’Aaron Fox, Jarred Vanderbilt go for big outings 0
- Providence announces return of point guard Kris Dunn for 2015-16 season 0
- Five-star guard Malik Newman commits to Mississippi State 0
- Duke lands commitment from elite PG Derryck Thornton, who will reclass (18)
- 2015 College Basketball Updated Early Entry List (14)
- UPDATED: 2015-2016 College Basketball Way-Too Early Preseason Top 25 (9)
- Louisville adds key grad transfer Damion Lee (6)
- All-MAC guard Shannon Evans to transfer from Buffalo; is athletics director Danny White at fault? (3)