Undefeated Indiana, led by freshman Cody Zeller, takes on No. 1 Kentucky, also undefeated, on Satuday. Here is the complete game preview.
Undefeated Indiana (8-0) will host No. 1 Kentucky (8-0) on Saturday. Not only is everything on the line for both undefeated teams, but Indiana and Kentucky have a historic rivalry that is amplified by the fact that one team will leave with their first loss of the season.
It's going to be a red-out in Assembly Hall on Saturday and it's going to be loud.
Here's a complete preview of Saturday's showdown in Bloomington.
Kentucky leads the rivalry, which started in 1924, 31-23.
While the rivalry has historic roots, Kentucky has dominated the past ten years of the rivalry, winning eight out their last ten matchups against Indiana and winning the past three times.
The last time that Indiana went into the rivalry undefeated (8-0) in 2002, they lost to a 5-2 Kentucky despite the Hoosiers being ranked at No. 6.
Here's a look at the results of the last ten matchups:
2010: Kentucky (81-62)
2009: Kentucky (90-73)
2008: Kentucky (72-54)
2007: Indiana (70-51)
2006: Kentucky (59-54)
2005: Indiana (79-53)
2004: Kentucky (73-58)
2003: Kentucky (80-41)
2002: Kentucky (70-64)
2001: Kentucky (66-52)
Indiana was very fortunate to have Cody Zeller decide to be a Hoosier after the recruiting battle. He has been their top performer and a savior to a certain degree.
Indiana's Top Performers:
15.5 PPG 7.5 RPG 1.6 BPG 67.7 FG%
12.3 PPG 5.0 RPG 2.0 SPG 53.7 FG%
11.8 PPG 3.1 RPG 1.6 APG 52.5 FG%
11.3 PPG 3.5 APG 1.1 SPG 57.1 FG%
Anthony Davis has been an excellent compliment to Terrence Jones and looks to be a candidate for the Freshman of the Year award. Kentucky crashes the boards hard and has a very physical team.
Kentucky's Top Performers:
15.0 PPG 7.5 RPG 2.5 BPG 49.4 FG%
14.4 PPG 4.1 RPG 2.8 APG 47.4 FG%
12.3 PPG 9.1 RPG 4.5 BPG 67.2 FG%
12.1 PPG 7.1 RPG 1.1 BPG 47.8 FG%
Although Kentucky is ranked No. 1 and Indiana is unranked, the Hoosiers are leading the Wildcats in some significant statistical categories.
Points scored per game:
Indiana: 85 (7th);Kentucky: 82.4 (16th)
Rebounds per game:
Indiana: 35.9 (161st); Kentucky 43.5 (4th)
Assists per game:
Indiana: 16.1 (30th); Kentucky: 15.4 (52nd)
Field goal percentage:
Indiana: 52.3 (6th); Kentucky: 49.0 (24th)
For Indiana, this is a huge game. The Hoosiers haven't opened a season 9-0 since the 1989-90 season. This will be their toughest opponent of the year, as they have yet to face a ranked opponent.
Kentucky's No. 1 ranking is at stake and if they lose on Saturday they will relinquish the throne to Ohio State or Syracuse (assuming those teams win their games).
If Indiana can win this game, their season will explode and they will have more confidence going into tough battles against No. 2 Ohio State, No. 16 Wisconsin and No. 19 Michigan during Big Ten conference play.
Regardless, the Hoosiers are set to have a good season, but a win here would be priceless.
Coach Tom Crean:
"Our focus and concentration has been excellent this week and I would expect nothing less from this group. They're preparing and they have been preparing well all year long."
"Obviously with this game there's a lot of things you have to be really good at. The bottom line is the fundamentals. You've got to be able to take care of the ball. You've got to be a very good block-out team. We've got to make the next pass."
Source: IU Hooisiers
Junior guard Jordan Hulls:
"I would say we have come a long way over the past couple years. But even two years ago, we prepared the same way with the same intensity. This is a different team and a new year and we feel good about what is going on and we are working hard in practice every day."
"They are very long and very active so we are going to have to take care of the ball. That is going to be a huge part of it—not letting them get easy fast-break points. But we have been preparing for that and dealing with their length."
Source: IU Hoosiers
Freshman Forward Cody Zeller:
"(Anthony Davis) is definitely a great player. I played against him quite a bit in the summer last year. But I have played against a lot of good players already this year—guys like Andrew Smith (Butler) and North Carolina had a few good guys inside. I think each game I am just trying to improve and this will just be another step for that."
"I have never experienced it so we are just going to prepare for it like any other game. The fans are excited but inside the locker room and on the practice court we are going to prepare just like any other game."
Source: IU Hoosiers
Coach John Calipari:
"They've got a team that's doing well, undefeated, and it should be a festive crowd."
"All their perimeter men shoot the ball well. So it's going to be a tough challenge..They've got good guard play, they've got good post play."
"We approach every game as though it's the same. There's not one game on our schedule that's dealt with in any other fashion. We know it's a hard game. Our players know, I don't have to to tell them."
Source: UK Athletics
The deciding factor in this game will be rebounding. Kentucky has dominated the glass this year and will give the Hoosiers a tough time pulling in rebounds.
The Wildcats have out-rebounded Indiana 44-36 (per game), which will mean Cody Zeller will be fighting hard for rebounds. Excluding Zeller, no Hoosier averages over five rebounds per game. Indiana has to have more guys scrambling for rebounds or they won't emerge victorious.
Whoever rebounds more will win the game.