Last year when the NCAA tournament bracket was released there was one team in the region that made me a little nervous. That team was the Baylor Bears. In theory they had they talent, size, and athleticism to match up with Kentucky and give our team problems. On the court though the Bears never really stood a chance. MKG and Anthony Davis stole the show as the Cats cruised to a 20 point halftime lead and a 12 point win. Kentucky went on to win the national championship while Baylor watched from home. Now the three players left who scored in that elite eight matchup would love nothing more than to ruin Kentucky’s three year home win streak. If Kentucky is going to win today one question that must be answered is can we stop these guys?
Duece Bello: Stat-line from Elite Eight- 3 points, 1-3 shooting
Once upon a time Duece Bello was nearly a Wildcat. Kentucky had shown a little bit of interest in the guard just in case things with the best class assembled didn’t pan out. Bello and another Kentucky watch Quincy Miller went with Baylor in a package deal after the Cats signed Davis and Wiltjer. In last year Bello was held to his average of 3 points per game and hasn’t exactly lit the nets on fire to start this year. Currently he has averaged 4.3 ppg to this point but you never know when a guy loaded with talent could have a big game. Hold this guy who was once on the Cats radar to his averages and the Cats will be fine.
Brady Heslip: Stat-line- 4 points, 1-2
Heslip has been out the past 10 days after an emergency appendectomy and was probably the leading factor in the loss to College of Charleston. Before he got sick though Brady set a new career high against St. John’s as he dropped 29 with 8-12 from beyond the arc. As the Notre Dame game illustrated a team with a sharp-shooting ace can keep the Cats at bay. Every time UK made a run on Thursday the Irish seemed to make another three pointer to hold on to momentum and the lead. Last year Heslip was basically shut down until he made a three late in the game. Hopefully we can do the same to the guy that stole our three goggles. Otherwise it may be another long night in the Bluegrass.
Pierre Jackson: Stat-line- 21 points, 9-19. 5 assists.
The most dangerous threat of all comes from Pierre Jackson. It isn’t any secret that Kentucky has struggled at the point guard this year and now one of the best pgs in the land is going to be bringing the ball up the court for the bad guys. So far Jackson has been the offensive catalyst for the Bears as he averages 20 points and nearly 7 assists per game. Will any of our options at point guard be able to slow him down? That’s the question of the game. Jackson was held to just 12 points in the loss to Colorado. The same output today and the Cats should cruise as they did in the NCAA tournament.
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