Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: Kentucky-Indiana basketball border war comes to NCAA Tourney

Indiana head coach Tom Crean reacts during the second half of a first-round men's college basketball game against Chattanooga in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 17, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. Indiana won 99-74.
Indiana head coach Tom Crean reacts during the second half of a first-round men's college basketball game against Chattanooga in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 17, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. Indiana won 99-74. The Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Friday:

▪ Kentucky-Indiana set up dream second round matchup, writes Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports. “The rivalry is back on, if only for 40 very important minutes, for the first time in four years. On Saturday night here, the Hoosiers and Wildcats will play for the right to go to the Sweet 16. It’s a matchup made in March heaven: large quantities of passion, tradition and bad blood; a pair of big-time point guards; candy-striped warm-up pants and Secretariat blue-checked shorts; 13 NCAA titles between them.”

▪ Indiana says matchup with UK will be wild, reports Mark Story of the Herald-Leader. “What egos and unwillingness to compromise took away, the NCAA Tournament is bringing back. For the second time in five years, Kentucky and Indiana — the long-running border rivalry that is no more — will play on college basketball’s biggest stage.”

▪ Fates align for a renewal, writes Brian Hamilton of “Hoosiers junior Colin Hartman, an Indianapolis native, recalls a manager of his high school basketball team tapping him on the shoulder during a game to whisper that Indiana had beaten Kentucky 73–72 on a Christian Watford buzzer-beater in 2011. Wildcats junior Derek Willis was indeed a recruit attending that game and watched in amazement as students stormed the floor in delight.”

▪ College basketball getting the matchup it needs, writes Bill Reiter of CBS Sports. “I think it’s a great rivalry and one of the -- there has been a lot of great history with Indiana and Kentucky over the years and we’ve been privileged to be a part of it,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said Thursday. “There’s some -- there’s been a lot of tremendous games. Obviously it’s a rivalry because of the history of it, because of the proximity of the two states, but because the two basketball teams have been good when it’s been at its best. So I would say that’s the biggest thing.”

▪ Kentucky’s stonewall defense smothers Stony Brook, writes Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “It may have been even less competitive than normal as Kentucky outclassed Stony Brook 85-57 Thursday night. The one-sided victory propelled UK (27-8) into a second-round game against former rival Indiana, which made a mockery of talk of a scary opener by routing Chattanooga 99-74.”

▪ Slow start, fast finish for Cats, says my column. “First games are always hard in this tournament, in any tournament play,” said Kentucky Coach John Calipari. “We were shaky in the first half.”

▪ Future is now for Indiana freshman, writes Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star. “This is the OG Anunoby nobody saw coming. Not this polished. Not this confident. Not this fast. The tools? Oh my, the tools were there. The first time Indiana coach Tom Crean saw him, he didn’t know who he was. Had never heard of him. But this kid was dunking on everybody in an AAU gym in Atlanta, and Tom Crean was looking for his name in the game program, but his name had been left off the roster.”

▪ Kentucky turns on the gas, reports Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal. “Kentucky looked like it might sputter into a much-anticipated match-up against Indiana in the next round, but the fourth-seeded Wildcats stomped on the gas after intermission and zoomed past 13th-seeded Stony Brook, 85-57, in their NCAA tournament opener Thursday night.”

▪ Yogi Ferrell gets his Kentucky moment, writes Rick Bozich of WDRB. “Of course, Yogi Ferrell remembers where he was on Dec. 10, 2011: playing a high school basketball game for Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis and puzzled why everybody in the bleachers was cheering wildly during a layup line.”

▪ Ferrell commands the floor, writes Alex Bozich of Inside the Hall. “Amazing, every time I watch Yogi, I just get amazed,” freshman Juwan Morgan said postgame of the performance. “The stepbacks he does, the passes he makes, how he finds and sees defenses, it just amazes me.”

▪ Kentucky too much for Stony Brook to handle, writes Greg Logan of Newsday. “Coach John Calipari’s Wildcats, with their long list of five-star recruits, was at the opposite end of the size and skill spectrum from Stony Brook. As unfair as it looked on paper, reality was far worse Thursday night on the Wells Fargo Arena court, where the Seawolves took an 85-57 beating.”

NCAA Tournament television schedule for Friday

12:15: Dayton vs. Syracuse (CBS)

12:40: Villanova vs. UNC-Asheville (truTV)

1:30: Oregon State vs. VCU (TNT)

2: California vs. Hawaii (TBS)

2:45: Michigan State vs. Middle Tennessee (CBS)

3:10: Iowa vs. Temple (truTV)

4: Oklahoma vs. Cal State-Bakersfield (TNT)

4:30: Maryland vs. South Dakota State (TBS)

6:50: Wisconsin vs. Pittsburgh (TNT)

7:10: West Virginia vs. Stephen F. Austin (CBS)

7:20: Texas A&M vs. Green Bay (TBS)

7:27: Oregon vs. Holy Cross (truTV)

9:20: Xavier vs. Weber State (TNT)

9:40: Notre Dame vs. Michigan-Tulsa winner (CBS)

9:50: Texas vs. Northern Iowa (TBS)

9:57: Saint Joseph’s vs. Cincinnati (truTV)


When: Saturday, 5:15 p.m.

Where: Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa

TV: CBS with Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson

Radio: UK Network with Tom Leach and Mike Pratt

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