NCAA Elite Eight
March 25, 2012 by staff
NCAA Elite Eight, The players come and go — more rapidly than at any other school — but Kentucky always finds enough of them to stay on its well-beaten path.
By defeating Indiana, 102-90, on Friday night in an NCAA South Regional semifinal, the Wildcats advanced to the Elite Eight for the third time in three seasons under coach John Calipari.
They will meet Baylor on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four, where their season ended in the national semifinals last season.
Of course, most of the college basketball world — especially Kentucky’s demanding fan base — expected the Wildcats to get this far, and beyond.
But No. 4 seed Indiana (27-9) made No. 1 seed Kentucky (35-2) work for the privilege with a gallant effort in the school’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2002.
The Wildcats, a remarkable 35-for-37 from the free-throw line, won despite a subpar offensive night from star forward Anthony Davis. He was limited by foul trouble to six minutes and two points in the first half and finished the game with only nine points.
Davis was in foul trouble during the teams’ Dec. 10 game, a victory for Indiana.
Even without Davis, the Wildcats took a 31-22 lead midway through the first, but Indiana managed a 21-8 run that briefly gave it a four-point lead before Kentucky regained its composure heading into intermission, when it led 50-47.
Christian Watford, whose three-pointer beat Kentucky in December, finished the first half with 17 points. Cody Zeller, Indiana’s center, also was in foul trouble in the first half, limiting him to nine minutes.
With Davis back in the second half and making his usual impact on defense and on the boards, Kentucky seemed to play with more confidence.
But each time it appeared the Wildcats were close to taking control, the Hoosiers answered. Kentucky led 79-66, but Indiana kept hanging around despite the greater array of weapons on the other side. Indiana was within 82-77 when guard Victor Oladipo fouled out with 15 points with 4:49 left.
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