No. 1 Kentucky (8-0) travels to Assembly Hall on Saturday to take on the Indiana Hoosiers (8-0). This is a huge rivalry and the buzz around this game is just like it used to be for this matchup.
Tickets are nearly impossible to get and it should be a raucous atmosphere in Bloomington.
This is the first time since 2006 a No. 1 team has played in Assembly Hall.
A then-No. 1 Connecticut Huskies beat Indiana 88-80.
The last time Indiana beat a No. 1 ranked team was in the Sweet 16 in 2002 when fifth-seeded Indiana upset Duke 74-73 in Rupp Arena en route to the NCAA Championship game run.
The last time Indiana beat a No. 1 ranked team in Assembly Hall was the season prior in 2001 when Kirk Haston hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Indiana a 59-58 win over Michigan State.
Indiana has played in 17 total games against the No. 1 ranked team and is only 5-12 in those games. They’ve also faced Kentucky six times when Kentucky was ranked No. 1 and are 1-5 in those games.
All of those stats are meaningless in this game, but I do think Indiana will win their first game against a No. 1 ranked team since that 2002 Duke game.
Kentucky is a young and inexperienced team. They start three freshmen and two sophomores. They only play one senior and only use two-to-three guys off the bench.
This can come back and bite them.
The atmosphere is going to be something they’ve never experienced. The crowd will be raucous and it will be deafening loud in there. Kentucky usually stacks their team with one-and-done's and this will hurt them early in the season.
Later in the season, the team would have had time to gel and would have played together long enough to know where they’re supposed to be in a raucous atmosphere. Saturday, I feel, is too soon. These guys haven’t had much time to gel against a quality opponent so far.
They also are far too young and immature and can get flustered in the heat of the game. With that much talent and the jawing that is sure to go on, young, immature players get selfish and try and do things their own way. This will be bad for Kentucky.
These guys are those type of “immature” players, and don’t even try and say they’re not. Each and every one of Kentucky’s starters can go pro, and when pushed, they get selfish.
This will cause foul trouble and turnovers, which is something Kentucky can’t afford to have if they want any shot at winning this game.
Indiana is disciplined and shoot the ball very well. They also play great defense and can give opponents fits. If they exploit Kentucky’s weaknesses like they should, this game could turn into a rout.
The following slideshow previews every positions matchup and the keys to the game.