Kentucky is coming off a very impressive win against West Virginia Thursday night. They were extremely focused on both sides of the ball and dominated nearly every aspect of the game. While I fully expect Kentucky to come out today against Notre Dame with the same mindset, Dakari Johnson needs to dominate like he did against the Mountaineers.
Dakari had almost been a non factor for the month leading up to the game on Thursday. His minutes were down to about 13-14 a game and was struggling to score the basketball. The only positive in his game was that he was hitting his foul shots. However, against West Virginia, he scored 12 points, one away from his season high, and played a near season best 24 minutes. Not only that, he was a perfect 4-4 from the foul line. The raise in his minutes was mainly from Karl Towns foul trouble, but Dakari took full advantage of his opportunity.
Dakari could have that same type of game today. Notre Dame’s tallest player is only 6’10”. He should have no trouble scoring inside. If the double team comes, like I expect Note Dame to do, he can kick it out to an open shooter. With curse of Devin Booker finally lifted, Notre Dame will have to respect the shooters.
Kentucky has the luxury almost no team in the country has. The projected #1 overall pick can be a non factor, yet the guy behind him can come in and dominate in his place. If Dakari continues with that type of play, Kentucky becomes that much more dangerous.
With a spot at the Final Four at stake, and a Notre Dame defense that struggles to guard, expect the Kentucky bigs, especially Dakari Johnson, to EAT.