Sweet 16 2012: Breaking Down Kentucky's Biggest Obstacles for the Final Four

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIMarch 23, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, IN - DECEMBER 10:  Victor Oladipo #4 of the Indiana Hoosiers and Doron Lamb #20 of the Kentucky Wildcats battle for a loose ballduring the Indiana 73-72 victory at Assembly Hall on December 10, 2011 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

While the Kentucky Wildcats are by far the top team in at least the South bracket, their road to the Final Four is not perfectly clear just yet. Three teams are also alive in the region, so let's see which one are most likely to pull the upset and keep the Wildcats from reaching New Orleans.


3. Xavier

Of all the possible matchups in the South, this is the one I just can't see happening. The problem with Xavier is that it doesn't have any real strengths over Kentucky to try to work with, which is a must when going against a team like this. 

Tu Halloway and Mark Lyons are nice players, but they aren't strong enough to match the Wildcats' overall depth. 

If you are not a fan of Kentucky, then pull hard for Baylor in their Sweet 16 matchup. If Xavier upsets the Bears, Kentucky will not be tested on its run to the Final Four. 

2. Baylor

The Bears' best chance is the same reason that they can't be No. 1 on this list: the three-pointer. Take a look at their most recent win vs. Colorado.

They made 11 three-point shots, with nine being drained by Brady Heslip. So, we know that they can make more than 10 threes in a game, which they will have to do to beat Kentucky, as this is not a team to match a team possession for possession. 

The problem is that they're a little too reliant on the three, and that's a part of the game that can easily go sour. In that game where Heslip made nine threes, he scored 27 points, which tells you all that you need to know about the rest of his output. 

Kentucky has a lot of length and can easily put its hands up, keeping the looks obstructed. The three-pointer is a great way to neutralize a more talented team, but is also a quick way to doom. If Baylor isn't on from long distance, it will be a blowout. 


1. Indiana

It shouldn't be hard to figure out why this team is No. 1. 

A big part of playing a team like Kentucky is that it often has opponents beaten before the opening tip. That is not going to be the case with Indiana, which knows that it can win. 

Even better is that in their previous meeting, the Hoosiers had room to improve. Leading scorer Cody Zeller had only 11 points in that game, and he can easily be closer to 20. At a neutral site, he'll have to be, but that's not impossible. 

Indiana has already drawn up the game plan to beat the Wildcats. The Hoosiers know that can be done with the players on the court, something no remaining team can say.