Rushed Reactions: #5 Indiana 73, #4 Kentucky 67

Posted by Walker Carey on March 19th, 2016

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCEastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCSouthregion and @RTCWestregion.

Three Key Takeaways: 

Thomas Bryant Led the Hoosiers to the Sweet Sixteen (USA Today Images)

Thomas Bryant Led the Hoosiers to the Sweet Sixteen (USA Today Images)

  1. Thomas Bryant’s second half play was instrumental to the Indiana victory. Throughout the first half, it appeared the moment might have been too large for the Indiana freshman forward. Bryant picked up two early fouls that limited him to a minor role in the opening stanza. Bryant was a completely different player after halftime, however. The first-year workhorse finished the afternoon with 19 points (on 6-of-8 shooting) and grabbed five rebounds. He also displayed his affinity for the big moment by knocking down two clutch free throws with 10.4 seconds to play that gave the Hoosiers a four-point lead. When the final buzzer sounded, Bryant paraded off the floor, exclaiming, “This is why I’m here! This is why I’m here!”. You better believe the Indiana faithful are quite thrilled Bryant has been on their side all season long.
  2. Kentucky’s lack of a third scorer really hurt the Wildcats. Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray have been the guys for Kentucky all season. Ulis, the SEC Player of the Year, and Murray, a dynamic freshman with a penchant for knocking down big shots, are on the short list of players that can take over a game at any time. Perhaps as a result of the praise and accolades heaped on Ulis and Murray, Kentucky’s lack of a third scorer has largely been ignored. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, that absence took center stage this afternoon, as Ulis and Murray scored 43 of Kentucky’s 67 points. The next highest point man was freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe, who had just seven points. Time after time, it appeared the Kentucky offense was resigned to standing around and waiting on either Ulis or Murray to make a play. It is hard to know whether the result would have been different if Kentucky’s supporting cast had played a bigger role, but it seemed like a tall order to ask Ulis and Murray to shoulder such a large percentage of the offensive load.
  3. Yogi Ferrell deserves this in his senior season. There are not many seniors (if any) who have meant more to their teams than Yogi Ferrell has meant to Indiana. It is only fitting that his final hurrah in the NCAA Tournament is marked by a run deep into the bracket. Ferrell was, per usual, masterful in leading the Hoosiers past Kentucky, finishing with 18 points, five rebounds, and four assists. The Indiana floor general also took excellent care of the ball all afternoon, turning it over just once in 37 minutes. The Hoosiers will face a large test in their Sweet 16 team match-up in Philadelphia, but with Ferrell at the controls, the team will have great guidance and on-the-court leadership.

Player of the Game. Thomas Bryant, Indiana. The Indiana freshman big man turned in a memorable second half performance. After scoring just two points in seven foul-plagued minutes in the first half, Bryant exploded for 17 second half points and knocked back two important free throws with 10.4 seconds to play to help ensure the Indiana victory.

Quotable.

  • “We had six offensive fouls. I don’t know that in my career I have had a team get six offensive fouls.” – Kentucky coach John Calipari, lamenting some of the calls on his players.
  • “They are not machines and they are not computers. Stuff happens.” – Calipari, suggesting that the public does not read too far into Kentucky’s loss this afternoon.
  • “We are obviously elated to win a game of this magnitude.” – Indiana coach Tom Crean.
  • Nick Zeisloft has gotten so much better. I hope someone asks me about his defense.” – Crean, in giving credit to his senior guard’s defensive effort.

Sights and Sounds. The environment in Des Moines this afternoon had plenty of energy. Fans on both sides were excited that Kentucky and Indiana were playing each other. In the postgame press conference, Calipari was asked about the rivalry possibly returning and replied that he would be receptive to playing the game in Indianapolis. He will not agree to a home-and-home.

What’s Next. Indiana advances to the Sweet Sixteen in Philadelphia next week where it will play the winner of #1 North Carolina and #9 Providence.

WCarey (302 Posts)


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