Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
After putting on an offensive clinic in a 99-74 first-round win over Chattanooga, Indiana survived a back-and-forth, defensive struggle against Kentucky to reach the Sweet 16.
In a game that very well may have set an NCAA tournament record for offensive fouls, the Hoosiers beat the Wildcats 73-67. Aside from Jamal Murray struggling to find his shot (1-of-9 from three), the big story was Thomas Bryant. Whether Kentucky put Marcus Lee, Skal Labissiere or Alex Poythress on him, there was no answer for Bryant down the stretch. He scored 12 of Indiana's final 15 points.
Moreover, he kept Kentucky's frontcourt from accomplishing anything on offense. Lee, Poythress, Labissiere and Derek Willis combined for 14 points while Bryant had 19.
Bryant was the reason we all bought stock in Indiana as a top-20 team before the season began, and this is a Final Four team when he's avoiding foul trouble and playing like this.
No matter the season, having to go through Kentucky and North Carolina just to reach the Elite Eight is pretty ridiculous. But the Hoosiers are halfway through that gauntlet with the Tar Heels looming in Philadelphia.
Key to making it to Houston
Hope the offense keeps showing up. We already knew that "Good Indiana" was "national championship" good, but how long can the Hoosiers keep their mediocre or bad offense at bay? You have to go back to Dec. 22-Jan. 2 to find the last time they hit that 79-point threshold in at least three straight games.
Odds to make Final Four: 3-1