Kansas vs. Kentucky Predictions: Darius Miller Will Play Major Role off Bench

Justin WeltonAnalyst IIApril 1, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 23:  Darius Miller #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots past Christian Watford #2 and Will Sheehey #10 of the Indiana Hoosiers in the second half during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on March 23, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Indiana Hoosiers 102 to 90.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kentucky doesn't have experienced players. That's what I hear and see all the time across social media websites.

Well, those people are dead wrong.

Darius Miller, a senior, will come alive off the bench for the fourth time in the NCAA Tournament.

There have been three occasions in the NCAA Tournament when Miller provided excellent point-production for the Wildcats. In those three games, Miller is averaging 17 points. In the NCAA Tournament combined, Miller is averaging 14.5 points.

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 23:  Terrence Jones #3 celebrates with Darius Miller #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats after Miller scored against the Indiana Hoosiers in the first half during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Two of those three games were what you could call barn burners. Against Indiana, a team that already defeated Kentucky earlier in the season and was putting up a quality effort, Miller dropped 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

Against Louisville, when the Cardinals continued to fight hard, Miller went 4-of-7 from the floor for 13 points.

Miller understands and executes his sixth-man role to perfection.

Kansas is a team that won't give up. They will continue to battle until the very end. I'm expecting the Jayhawks to give Kentucky everything they can handle and then some.

Generally, a youthful team would succumb to the pressure of what is the national championship game. I don't see it happening with this team, however.

With Miller providing that senior leadership off the bench, sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb practically being juniors with how many games they have played and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist being one of the best freshman leaders in college basketball, I don't see the Wildcats crumbling under the big lights.

 

Prediction: Kentucky 75, Kansas 70

 

Kansas will put up a great fight but Kentucky's talent is head-and-shoulders better than any team in America.

Miller will score in double-figures by knocking down two or three three-pointers. Also, his ability to defend multiple positions with his size and length will give Kansas issues all game.