Keys to the Game: 5 things UK must do to win – The Courier-Journal

7 months ago Comments Off on Keys to the Game: 5 things UK must do to win – The Courier-Journal
  • Video | Kentucky's Calipari talks before the Cats 2nd game vs IU
  • Indiana's Tom Crean says beating Kentucky in 2011 're-established us'
  • Video | Indiana Coach Tom Crean on playing Kentucky
  • Video | Kentucky players talk before their 2nd round game with IU
  • Video | Indiana players talk about playing UK
  • Video | Murray hopes for fast-paced game
  • Video | Poythress excited for IU game
  • Video | Willis recalls visit to IU for Watford game
  • Video | UK's Labissiere likes IU matchup
  • Video | Briscoe unfamiliar with UK-IU rivalry
  • Video | UK's Briscoe on March: "It is madness"

DES MOINES, Iowa – Five keys for a Kentucky win Saturday in the NCAA tournament second round against Indiana:

1. Stars need to be stars

Kentucky will go as far as Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray carry it this season, so John Calipari needs his two All-Americans to live up to their billing in the biggest games. The two guards have accounted for 45.9 percent of the team’s points this season, and Kentucky may need a similar output to take down Indiana. Both teams look likely to score in the 70s, so a combined 40 points from Ulis and Murray would go a long way to giving Kentucky the win. Ulis and Murray can certainly carry Kentucky to wins. They were the top-scoring duo of any teammates in the country’s seven top basketball conferences during SEC play.

2. Find some help for Poythress

Senior forward Alex Poythress appears to have finally found some consistency to his up-and-down UK career with six consecutive double-digit scoring games, but he will need some help in the post Saturday. Whether it’s junior forward Marcus Lee, who battled foul trouble in the tournament opener, or freshman forward Skal Labissiere, who has improved in recent weeks, one of the other UK big men needs to offer some offense against the Hoosiers. Foul trouble is always a risk for this group, so UK’s post depth could be exposed. Freshman forward Isaac Humphries has struggled in recent weeks and might not offer the best hope for UK if Calipari is forced to go deep into his bench.

3. Win the rebounding battle

Kentucky won its NCAA tournament opener over Stony Brook in relatively easy fashion despite being outrebounded 46-44, but the Wildcats’ track record is far better this season when they control the glass. UK is 19-2 when it records more rebounds than an opponent this season and is 5-6 when it gets outrebounded. Both teams are among the top 15 in the country in offensive rebound percentage, according to Limiting second-chance opportunities should be key for Kentucky slowing a potent Indiana offense.

4. Don’t get caught up in the hype

Since the bracket was released, fans and media have fixated on the potential of a Kentucky-Indiana second-round matchup, but players cannot afford the same luxury. Both teams have downplayed the significance of the rivalry factor in the game, but that commitment has to carry over to the court to maintain composure. The team that lets the stakes of the game or the intensity of the rivalry factor in its thinking could falter in crunch time. The stakes are doubly high for Ulis, who has the additional pressure of the focus on the matchup between himself and Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell.

5. Score at least 80 points

The last time Kentucky and Indiana met, the two teams combined for 192 points in the 2012 NCAA tournament. The Wildcats currently lead the country in’s measure of adjusted offensive efficiency. The Hoosiers rank fifth. With the offensive talent on the court Saturday, neither team can afford an off-shooting night. Kentucky is 18-1 on the season when it scores at least 50 points but is 1-4 when its opponent scores that many. A strong performance in the Stony Brook win erased some of the bad taste from UK’s defensive struggles at the SEC tournament in Nashville, but the smart money would be on Indiana getting its points Saturday. That would mean UK needs to score a bunch.

Video | Kentucky’s Calipari talks before the Cats 2nd game vs IU

Email Jon Hale at Follow him on Twitter @JonHale_CJ.

Keys to the Game: 5 things UK must do to win – The Courier-Journal

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