Beisner already gave you a breakdown of Baylor’s starting five, so I’m going to take a look at the matchups at each position and see what the ‘Cats have to do to come out on top today. I’m also going to do my best to refrain from typing the “L” word today because I feel like way too many people are already looking ahead to a possible Final Four game against Louisville. Oops, that didn’t last long. But seriously, the ‘Cats will have their hands full today with an unbelievably athletic Baylor team. On to the matchups…
Center – Davis vs. Jones III
The 6’11” Perry Jones III may not necessarily be a center but most people figure he will end up guarding Davis because of his length and athleticism. After a great regular season, his scoring has dropped from 13 to 7 points a game in the tournament. Heading into a game against one of the top two best big men in the country is not the time you want to see your numbers slipping. The only way I see Baylor winning the matchup at Center is if Davis finds himself in foul trouble or with food poisoning.
Power forward – Jones vs. Acy
Acy has found a way to be an effective big man this year despite being a little undersized. At 6’7”, he’s only the third tallest starter for the Bears, but he is strong as an ox and will be a menace on the boards if UK doesn’t box out. He also knows how to dunk. Look for Acy to try and impose his will on Terrence physically. However, Jones has been playing like a man possessed lately and has recorded double digit rebounds in two of the tournament games so far. If the Jones we know and love shows up today, he should have no problems with Acy. If not, it could be an interesting matchup.
Advantage : Kentucky
Small forward – Kidd-Gilchrist vs. Miller
This could be the matchup I am most looking forward to today. Miller probably won’t go off for 30 on you, but he could give MKG fits on defense with his length. Kidd-Gilchrist is coming off one of his best games of the year and looks as confident as ever. If both players play their best basketball, the numbers say MKG will win the battle. Either way, this will be a fun matchup to watch.
Slight advantage : Kentucky
Shooting guard : Lamb vs. Heslip
This matchup will feature two of the best shooters in college basketball. We all know Lamb can light it up from beyond the arc, but Heslip is no slouch himself. He hit nine 3-pointers against Colorado last weekend. Lamb has been playing his best basketball of the year in the tournament, averaging close to 18 points a game. Heslip isn’t an elite defender so Baylor might try to throw a couple different guys at Lamb throughout the game. I look for Lamb to hold his own in this showdown.
Advantage : Kentucky
Point guard – Teague vs. Jackson
Teague will have his hands full today. Pierre Jackson has been one of Baylor’s best scorers this year at 13.3 points per game. He has an uncanny ability to squirm his 5’10” frame into the lane and finish near the rim way better than it looks like he should be able to. If Teague can hold him to around 10 points while taking good care of the basketball on the offensive end, I’d consider it a job well done today.
Slight advantage : Baylor
Get ready for what should be a fast-paced, high-flying game between two ultra athletic teams. Get your popcorn ready.
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