INDIANAPOLIS — Usually the Kentucky and Indiana All-Star teams had a week to correct mistakes, watch tape of their last game and make the appropriate adjustments.
This year, with the new, condensed one-weekend series, the teams barely have 24 hours before they have to face off again.
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“You've got no idea how tough it is,” Indiana Coach Rick Baumgartner said of the grueling schedule, including the two All-Star games in two cities and a couple of scrimmages around the state. “It's four games in seven days. It's a lot of basketball.”
Indiana barely hung on to beat Kentucky 83-82 at Conseco Fieldhouse on Friday night to win its eighth straight in the annual series.
Does knowing how close his team — which had an 11-point lead in the first half — came to beating Indiana at Indiana give Coach Tim Davis and his Kentucky team a little extra motivation for Sunday's game on their side of the Ohio River?
“We were pretty motivated in here tonight,” Davis said after the loss. “These kids worked hard for eight days. They came in here with the mind-set that it's time to stop the losing streak. We just came up a little short.”
The turnaround time isn't going to make alterations easy, but getting a group of stars to cut down on their turnovers should be. Davis' group had 29 miscues, including 18 in the second half. Indiana scored 26 points off of those turnovers.
“Decision making,” Davis said of the team's largest problem. “Kids tried to make athletic moves and drive, and then we make spin moves, and then someone was there to help or knock the ball out of our hands.”
Davis did see several bright spots in Kentucky's play, such as beating a bigger Indiana team on the boards 44-31 and outscoring the Hoosiers on second-chance points 13-1. The Indiana boys were limited to five offensive rebounds. Kentucky had 13.
“Our defensive boards were not good at all. We've got some things we need to take care of,” Baumgartner said of the rebounding. “I'm banking on the fact that we will.”
But the Hoosiers coach knows that Kentucky will be gunning for Indiana at Louisville Gardens. It's a dangerous Kentucky team, too, he said.
“This is one of the more talented Kentucky teams I've seen in quite some time,” he said. “They have a lot of athleticism, a lot of depth and talent.”