Battle Of Unbeatens No 1 Kentucky Wildcats at Indiana Hoosiers
Friday, December 09, 2011
Tom Crean has done a remarkable job turning around Indiana’s fortunes in his fourth season as head coach. The Indiana Hoosiers have cruised through the first part of their schedule, picking off the likes of Stetson, Evansville and Savannah State.
Now Indiana will get a chance to prove itself against some considerably stiffer competition. Crean’s team will host No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday. The Hoosiers have averaged 85 points on 52.3 percent shooting behind freshman Cody Zeller, but will face a Wildcats defense that has held opponents to a Division I-low 32.6 percent shooting.
Kentucky survived a test from No. 5 North Carolina last weekend and is playing cohesively despite a starting lineup consisting of three freshmen and two sophomores.
Kentucky Wildcats (8-0): The Wildcats’ talent was undeniable, but some thought it would take time to get all of it on the same page. That has not been a problem for head coach John Calipari, who has senior guard Darius Miller around to provide a steady presence off the bench. Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist collected 17 points and 11 rebounds in the 73-72 victory over the Tar Heels but it was another freshman that made the biggest play, when Anthony Davis blocked a shot in the final seconds. Davis is anchoring the defense and averaging 4.5 blocks -- well on his way to a Kentucky single-season record.
Indiana Hoosiers (8-0): The Hoosiers have their own star freshman in Zeller, who at 6-foot-11 will spend his time battling Davis in the post. Zeller paces Indiana in scoring (15.5) and rebounding (7.5) and has been a big part of the team’s defensive improvement. The Hoosiers have only faced one major-conference team, getting past North Carolina State 86-75, and are coming off an 84-50 triumph over Stetson in which they forced 22 turnovers.
Indiana has not opened 9-0 since
2. Kentucky forward Terrence Jones was named SEC Player of the Week after averaging 20 points in victories over North Carolina and St. John’s.
3. Kentucky has taken 14 of the schools' last 17 meetings, including an 81-62 triumph in Lexington last December.
NCAA BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Wildcats 73, Hoosiers 68
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