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What Kentucky must do to beat Kansas State

Kentucky is a five-point favorite over Kansas State in tonight’s Sweet 16 showdown. What must the blue Wildcats do to beat the purple Wildcats? I’ve got five keys to the game.

Let Shai eat

No one drives the basket better than Shai Gilgeous-Alexander; tonight, Kansas State’s Barry Brown will attempt to shut him down. Brown is K-State’s lockdown defender, notably holding Trae Young to only 2-1 from the outside and forcing him into 12 turnovers. Shai’s averaging 21.8 points, 6.6 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 steals and only 2.0 turnovers in the postseason, so this is my matchup to watch. If Shai continues to play like he has been, Kentucky will control the game.

Minimize Dean Wade

If he was 100% healthy, there’s a 100% chance Dean Wade would have an impact on this game; however, while Wade will play tonight, he will be limited. Even though he’s 6’10”, 230 lbs., Wade isn’t just a post guy; he can step out and hit it from the outside too, connecting on 44% from the three-point line. The uncertainty over whether or not he’ll play has turned him into the second coming of Dirk Nowitzki, but as long as Nick Richards, Sacha Killeya-Jones, or even PJ Washington bring it on the defensive end, I don’t see Wade being a game-changer.

Something — anything — from the outside

Kentucky’s 0-6 performance from the outside vs. Davidson was an anomaly. Wenyen Gabriel has stepped up as the three-point specialist Kentucky needs, hitting 60.7% from the outside over the last seven games. Meanwhile, Quade Green finally hit a three vs. Buffalo after going 0-7 in his last four games. Shai and Hamidou Diallo have also hit some big threes in the postseason, and Kentucky will need consistency from the outside to break down Kansas State’s vaunted defense.

Hami! Hami! Hami!

Hamidou Diallo broke through vs. Buffalo; if he can build on that performance tonight, Kentucky becomes even more dynamic going forward. Not many teams can stop this:

Loud crowd

The Cats used an away game atmosphere to their advantage in Boise; let’s hope a loud and raucous BBN makes them feel at home in Catlanta.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

15 Comments for What Kentucky must do to beat Kansas State

  1. JTHinton
    2:43 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

    Outscore them?

  2. BluemanGreen
    3:15 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

    That dunk is one of the nastiest dunks college basketball has ever seen. Probably the nastiest in UK history. It was that sick.

    • jr_hopkins
      3:26 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

      Perry Stevenson!

    • Brutal Hustler
      3:41 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

      Hami’s funk shown in this post? It’s a great dunk for sure, but Willie Cauley Stein himself has at least 2 dunks better than that, namely the one against Florida where he committed full on manslaughter. Not to mention the big ones James Young, MKG, and Malik Monk had

    • BigBlueMeade
      4:35 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

      Derek Willis had a nasty one and Darius Miller too

    • RealCatsFan
      5:59 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

      Dirk Minnefield dunked the ball looking down into the hoop one time. 😉

    • RealCatsFan
      6:05 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

      Don’t forget Kenny “Sky” Walker.

  3. bluecrowe
    4:00 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

    The most important factor is the game being in Atlanta. It makes it Rupp Arena South. The crowds are always louder than at Rupp and more desperate given the tournament atmosphere. This makes it a gift to the players and they respond to it 99% of the time. I live in Atlanta and have been blessed to see every game they ever played here. It is something to behold. Being that these are all Freshmen, they will be so psyched when they see and hear the crowd in Atlanta!! Go Cats!

  4. madarchitect
    4:03 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

    See you at the game!!

  5. henderblue
    4:40 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

    I go back a ways. Google Dirk Minniefield dunks. You will find one on YouTube that is the best. You’ll know it when you see it. He was 6’3

  6. Gowcats
    5:14 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

    Henderblue-that is exactly the one I thought of first. Did not even have to YouTube it and I know which you mean. It was even better live.

  7. Ez21
    6:42 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

    That’s not close to the nastiest dunk in history. MKG dunked over someone hard after a steal and Anderson vs either UL or IU was better. I’m not saying either is the best but I much prefer dunks over people.

  8. Ez21
    7:29 pm March 22, 2018 Permalink

    As a matter of fact his tip dunk was better than the windmill.