How Baylor and Kentucky match up

mstory@herald-leader.comMarch 24, 2012 

Baylor's Quincy Acy dunked over Xavier's Kenny Frease for two of his 20 points in the Bears' Sweet Sixteen win on Friday. For the season, the senior from Mesquite, Texas, is averaging 11.7 points while shooting 57 percent from the field.

HERALD-LEADER

  • Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky

    When: 7 p.m. Saturday
    Where: LP Field in Nashville
    TV: ESPNews
    Radio: WBUL-FM 98.1; WLAP-AM 630; WWRW-FM 105.5

Point guard

Thought to be Kentucky's potential weak link as tournament play began, freshman Marquis Teague has been an exclamation point so far. In tough NCAA tourney matchups with Iowa State and Indiana, Teague has combined for 38 points, 14 assists and only four turnovers.

Baylor's Pierre Jackson (team-best 13.5 ppg; 5.8 assists) is a tough-minded, junior-college transfer with a lot of game. He hit a trey that forced OT in a Baylor win over West Virginia on Dec. 23. At 5-foot-10, Jackson saved a victory at BYU on Dec. 17 when he blocked a three-point try by 6-9 Brandon Davies.

Advantage: Baylor

Shooting guard

Silently, Doron Lamb is leading Kentucky in scoring (17.7 ppg) in the NCAA Tournament. The 6-4 sophomore is ripping the cords (18 of 30 field goals, 8 of 12 treys and 9 of 10 foul shots) in the Dance. He drove the ball hard to the basket against Indiana.

Brady Heslip is the hottest three-point shooter in the tournament, having made 15 of 25 treys. The 6-2 transfer from Boston College scorched Colorado with nine threes and 27 points. He is also a 94.4 percent foul shooter. Look for UK to attack Heslip defensively, however, if it can.

Advantage: Kentucky

Small forward

After scoring in double figures only four times in 11 games, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist produced a monster game against Indiana with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Against a Baylor roster whose athleticism and length essentially matches Kentucky's, the Cats will need MKG's always fully revved motor and toughness.

Quincy Miller, a 6-10, 210-pound freshman, can be lethal as he showed in a 29-point game against Missouri on Jan. 21. His talent is such, he was on Kentucky's recruiting radar. The Big 12 co-Freshman of the Year has made only 10 of 25 field goals in the NCAA tourney, however.

Advantage: Kentucky

Power forward

Terrence Jones had five rebounds against Indiana, the first time in UK's six post-season games so far he grabbed fewer than nine in a game. Baylor's elongated front line will test Jones' ability to get his shot off.

In Baylor's round of 16 victory over Xavier, Quincy Acy punished X with 20 points — including some ferocious dunks — and 15 rebounds. The 6-7, 235-pound senior (11.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg for season) had been in a scoring slump before the Xavier breakout, however, with 18 points combined in the Bears' prior three games.

Advantage: Even

Center

Rare foul trouble limited Anthony Davis to only 25 minutes in UK's win over IU, but he still put up nine points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. Teams have gotten more physical with Davis in the post-season, and his shooting accuracy (25-of-52 field goals) has gone down.

Perry Jones III is the one player in the country whose talent ceiling may be close to Davis's. Yet the 6-11, 235-pound sophomore is not nearly as consistent as the Kentucky star. Before scoring 14 points against Xavier, Jones III had made 4 of 14 shots and scored only nine points total in Baylor's NCAA wins over South Dakota State and Colorado.

Advantage: Kentucky

Bench

In his final NCAA tourney, UK senior Darius Miller has made 13 of 19 shots combined in the wins over Iowa State and IU and scored 19 points in each game. Miller scored eight straight early in the second half against Indiana at a time when the game was tense. Kyle Wiltjer has played only 17 minutes in the NCAA tourney so far but has hit a trey in UK's past two wins.

At 6-10, Anthony Jones (5.3 ppg; 2.8rpg) gives Baylor even more size off the bench. He's averaging 8 points in the NCAA tourney. Guard A.J. Walton started 30 games last season and 18 this season and had five assists against Xavier. Freshman guard Deuce Bello has scored nine points total in the NCAAs.

Advantage: Kentucky

Intangibles

Baylor played eventual national champion Duke very tough in the 2010 round of eight and will not be intimidated by the moment Sunday. As the team expected to win, the pressure will be on Kentucky if the game gets close. The Cats seemed loose in the their interview sessions Saturday, though. The Cat-lanta factor — the thousands of UK fans that fill the Georgia Dome when Kentucky plays here — is a clear edge for the Wildcats.

Advantage: Kentucky


Average points

Kentucky: 77.8

Baylor: 74.8

Opponents' average points

Kentucky: 60.4

Baylor: 64.9

Field-goal percentage

Kentucky: 48.7

Baylor 47.0

Opponents' field-goal percentage

Kentucky: 37.5

Baylor: 41.5

Free-throw percentage

Kentucky: 72.9

Baylor: 75.1

Rebound margin

Kentucky: 7.3

Baylor: 5.5

Three-point field-goal percentage

Kentucky: 37.7

Baylor: 38.5

Opponents' three-point field-goal percentage

Kentucky: 31.5

Baylor: 33.3

Three-point field goals per game

Kentucky: 5.8

Baylor: 6.9

Opponents' three-point field goals per game

Kentucky: 5.6

Baylor: 6.2

Average steals per game

Kentucky: 6.0

Baylor: 7.6

Average blocks per game

Kentucky: 8.6

Baylor 4.7

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service