Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament Elite Eight game Sunday evening against North Carolina in Memphis will be the 39th all-time meeting between the two college basketball blue bloods and their second this season.
The Tar Heels lead the series 23-15, but Kentucky has won four of the past five meetings, including a 103-100 win in the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas on Dec. 17.
Here are five things you might have forgotten about that game:
1. Kentucky scored more than 100 points but received almost nothing from its bench. Isaac Humphries, Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins and Sacha Killeya-Jones played a combined 49 minutes and totaled five points, eight rebounds and two assists.
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2. Kentucky outrebounded North Carolina, 39-35. That turned out to be a rare feat in 2016-17. Only two other teams accomplished that task against the Tar Heels all season: Miami (41-36 on Jan. 28) and Duke (31-30 on Feb. 9). All three games resulted in defeat for UNC.
3. Justin Jackson scored 34 points for North Carolina, but nobody noticed. Malik Monk’s 47-point masterpiece for Kentucky soaked up all the praise not reserved for the fast-paced greatness of the game itself. Jackson’s line was stellar: 10 of 17 from the field, 4 of 7 from three, 10 of 15 free throws, five rebounds, three assists. Much like they had to do with UCLA’s TJ Leaf on Friday night, that’s a problem the Wildcats will need to address Sunday.
4. Both teams had to contend with significant foul trouble. Kennedy Meeks and Joel Berry fouled out for the Tar Heels, and Isaiah Hicks finished with four fouls. The 6-foot-10 Meeks was limited to 20 minutes and scored 12 points. Hicks was on the floor for only 15 minutes and scored 10. When Hicks picked up his third foul of the first half, North Carolina Coach Roy Williams tore off his jacket and threw it at the bench, collecting a technical foul in the process. For Kentucky, Bam Adebayo fouled out after playing just 19 minutes (13 points), and Isaiah Briscoe was tagged with four but played 38 minutes (10 points). The UNC game was one of only two times all season that Adebayo fouled out.
5. The final shot of the game got stuck between the rim and the backboard. North Carolina’s Kenny Williams launched a fall-away three-pointer from the corner with seven-tenths of a second to go that could have sent the game to overtime. It came up just short, becoming lodged at the buzzer — the only moment in the game when the end-to-end action ever really stopped.