94 feet: What went wrong in first game and what’s gone right in NCAA Tournament

In a hotly anticipated border battle, No. 1 Kentucky (34-2) faces off against No. 16 Indiana (27-8) in an NCAA South Regional semifinal rematch between long-time rivals.

The Cats are coming off tourney victories over Western Kentucky and Iowa State, while the Hoosiers have come out on top of New Mexico State and Virginia Commonwealth to reach the round of 16.

Of course the two schools met earlier in the year, on Dec. 10 in Bloomington, Ind., and that’s where we begin our look at one of the greatest rivalries in college hoops.

Indiana 73 Kentucky 72: Quick hits

  • The Hoosiers made 9-of-15 trey attempts (60.0 percent), giving IU a 27-6 scoring advantage from distance. At one point in the game, Indiana made seven 3-pointers in a row.
  • Kentucky committed 13 first-half turnovers.
  • After a tough first half, Indiana native Marquis Teague made all six of his second-half shots on his way to 15 points, as he had his way with IU’s Jordan Hulls.
  • With UK up 20-14 in the first half, Indiana went on a 16-2 run, rattling the Cats’ cage.
  • Anthony Davis picked up two quick fouls and played 11 first-half minutes, scoring four points. He ended the game playing only 24 minutes; saddled with four fouls the final twelve-minutes. Although the big man scored only six points, he did grab nine rebounds and blocked seven shots.
  • Terrence Jones struggled, in a word, mightily. Jones played 28 minutes and snagged but a single rebound, while scoring four points. He also turned the ball over six times.
  • Despite the struggles of Davis and Jones, the Wildcats scored 50 paint points to IU’s 24.
  • In the second half, UK torched the nets, making 17-of-25 shots (68.0 percent), but failed to connect from distance in only one attempt. Meanwhile, Indiana made 7 of 9 from beyond the arc (77.8 percent), while shooting 47.1 percent from the field (16 of 34).
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — who played like a warrior from the outset in scoring 18 points and snaring nine boards — and Davis, combined to secure 18 of UK’s 30 rebounds.
  • Darius Miller struggled early in the contest, scoring zero points and grabbing one rebound in the first half. But the senior responded in the second stanza with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting.
  • Kentucky made 10-of-17 free throws (58.8 percent), missing two late in the game, while the Hoosiers countered with a knockout blow by connecting on 14-of-17 from the line (82.4 percent).

Kentucky-Indiana NCAA Tournament history

The Basics

What: Sweet 16
Who: Kentucky (34-2) vs. Indiana (27-8)
When: Friday at 9:45 p.m.
Where: Georgia Dome (35,00) in Atlanta
UK Athletics Tourney Central
Pregame tailgate

Indiana File

Record: 27-8
Head coach: Tom Crean (55-74 at Indiana)
Seed: 4
Nickname: Hoosiers
Conference: Big Ten
Player to watch: Cody Zeller (15.5 points, 6.5 rebounds)
Series history: UK leads 31-24
Last meeting:  IU won 73-72 on Dec. 10
The Cats and Hoosiers have met three previous times in the NCAA Tournament, with the last meeting coming in March 1983. In that contest, it was No. 12 Kentucky facing off against No. 5 Indiana in the Mideast Regional semifinals played in Knoxville, Tenn. On that day, the Cats came out victorious behind the stellar play of junior big man Melvin Turpin, as he poured in 16 points, while Kenny Walker chipped in with 13 off the bench, leading UK to a close 64-59 win.

In Dayton, Ohio, in March 1975, it was No. 1 Indiana, riding high on a 34-game winning streak, who went down to the Cats in an epic 92-90 battle between the Cats and Hoosiers. IU All-America forward Scott May broke his wrist only four weeks prior to the contest and played but seven minutes in the game, scoring two points. Kent Benson did all he could to make up for May’s absence by scoring 33 points and grabbing 23 boards in the losing effort.

Mike Flynn paced the Cats with 22 points, as five Wildcats scored in double figures — Kevin Grevey, along with Jimmy Dan Conner netted 17, freshmen Rick Robey and Mike Phillips scored 10 apiece.

Two years earlier, in March 1973, No. 6 Indiana beat the No. 17 Wildcats 72-65 in the NCAA Mideast Regional finals held in Nashville. Steve Downing and Quinn Buckner scored 23 and 16 points respectively for IU, as the two Hoosier bigs combined for 23 rebounds. Jim Andrews led the Cats with 23 points and 10 boards.

Kentucky in the 2012 NCAA Tournament

The Cats have won two Big Dance contests by doing what they do best: shooting the ball and playing smothering defense, especially when it matters most.

Pacing the Cats in shooting is none other than Teague. After his outstanding performance against Iowa State, where he recorded a career-high 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting, Teague has made 13-of-21 shots in the tournament (61.9 percent), and he leads the Cats in scoring by averaging 18.0 points per game. Equally as hot is Doron Lamb, who has tickled the twine on 63.6 percent of his shots (7 of 11 from distance), while averaging 16.0 points per game.

Miller, who’s made 9-of-15 shots from the field (3 of 6 from distance), and behind the strength of his 19 points against Iowas State, is averaging 12.5 points in NCAA tourney play. Miller and Lamb, Kentucky’s two most proficient long-distance shooters during the regular season, have combined to make 10 of 17 from beyond the arc in the NCAA tourney (58.8 percent).

Davis, who has increased his perimeter shooting frequency, particularly in the WKU win, has made 9 of 17 from the field for a solid 52.9 percent. Davis is averaging 15.5 points per NCAA contest to go along with 4.5 blocks. Davis, along with a focused Jones, lead the Cats in rebounding with 10.5 boards per game in tournament play. Jones is also scoring the ball with great efficiency, making 12-of-22 shots from the field, good for 54.5 percent.

The only Wildcat struggling from the field is Kidd-Gilchrist, who has made only 5-of-12 shots (41.7 percent). The freshman forward continues to snag rebounds (7.0 per game) and play outstanding defense despite his offensive woes.

As a team, Kentucky has connected on 55.5 percent of its shots from the field (61 of 110), and 43.3 percent of its 3-point tries. The free-throw line has thus far been kind to the Cats, as Kentucky has connected on 33 of 47 from the line (70.2 percent).

The Cats, led by the perpetually tenacious Kidd-Gilchrist, have allowed their Big Dance opponents to shoot only 40.3 percent from the floor (50 of 124), while also tightening the perimeter D by limiting the opposition to an anemic 24.3 percent from long range (9 of 37).

Kentucky has owned the offensive glass in its first two tourney tests, allowing the opposition to grab only 22 offensive rebounds (29.7 percent). Overall, the Wildcats are a solid plus-18 in rebound margin and are snagging an exceptional 42.9 percent of their offensive rebound opportunities.

Stay tuned to CoachCal.com as Eric Lindsey and Guy Ramsey will be along with comprehensive coverage of UK’s NCAA Tournament matchup with Indiana.