Sweet 16 Predictions: 4 Things Kentucky Must Watch out for Against Indiana
In 2012, it is national championship or bust for the Kentucky Wildcats, and their next matchup is against an Indiana team that has already beaten them once.
In the Sweet 16, top-ranked Kentucky will play No. 4 seed Indiana Hoosiers.
The Wildcats have coasted through the NCAA tournament to this point, but many believe that Indiana could be the team to upset Kentucky.
There is a definitely a chance of that happening, but the Wildcats seem to be on a mission this March. John Capilari's team is playing well and have won their first two games by a combined 31 points.
Indiana dominated New Mexico State and squeaked by a good VCU team to get to the Sweet 16.
This will be a good game between two storied schools. Let's take a look at four things the Wildcats should be aware of entering the Sweet 16.
Just about anyone who watched the December 10th meeting between Kentucky and Indiana knows that foul trouble helped the Hoosiers beat the Wildcats.
Kentucky's All-American center Anthony Davis played only 24 minutes in that game because of foul trouble. During the 16 minutes that Davis was on the bench, Indiana outscored Kentucky by 12 points.
If the Wildcats expect to move on to the Elite Eight, then they have to make sure that Davis does not get into foul trouble early.
Davis is imperative to Kentucky's success, as proven by the last game against Indiana. During that game, the Wildcats shot 60 percent with Davis on the court. But that percentage dropped to 47 when Davis went to the bench.
Indiana shot 55 percent with Davis on the bench, but fell to 36 percent whenever facing Davis on the court.
If Davis can manage to stay out of foul trouble, then the Wildcats could cruise to a victory and be that much closer to an NCAA championship.
Kentucky cannot allow the Hoosiers to have success from the three-point line.
Indiana was able to keep pace with the Wildcats in the last game because of their ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc. This season, the Hoosiers have shot 43.7 percent from three-point range, which is second in the nation.
Indiana is 10-0 when they have shot 50 percent or better from deep range. If Kentucky allows Indiana to get rolling, then they could end up going home early.
The Hoosiers have three players that have averaged better than 44 percent from three-point range this season. Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford and Matt Roth have all shot well from beyond the arc, and they will look to do the same against Kentucky.
Kentucky cannot get lazy in this game. They have to defend well against Indiana in order to continue on in the NCAA tournament.
Points in the Paint
When a team has a player like Anthony Davis, it is typically pretty easy to play good defense in the paint.
Davis leads the country with 166 blocked shots this season, nearly five per game, and most of those have come in the paint.
In the last game, Kentucky destroyed Indiana in points in the paint, outscoring the Hoosiers 50-24. However, thus far in the NCAA tournament, the two teams are nearly identical in that area.
The Wildcats already have to concern themselves with the Hoosiers' ability to shoot the three-point shot, and they definitely cannot allow Indiana access to the paint.
Kentucky has solid defenders in Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones, which should mean that the Wildcats can dominate in the paint again this game.
We have already seen a good amount of teams get upset in this tournament, and if the Wildcats cannot defend the paint, then we will see another top seed go down.
Kentucky has had the best transition game out of every team in the NCAA tournament thus far. The Wildcats have scored 46 transition points, most of which have come off of opponents' missed shots.
In fact, the Wildcats have had no turnovers off of transitions and have managed to make five three-pointers and get 14 assists. Every one one of those stats league the tournament right now.
However, the teams that have challenged the Wildcats most recently, Florida and Vanderbilt, have done so by playing in transition often.
Indiana will try to catch Kentucky off-balance as much as possible and avoid meeting Anthony Davis in the center of the paint.
The Wildcats will need to be aware of the Hoosiers' intent, as they almost lost to Florida and did lose to Vanderbilt due to similar game plans.