Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (16) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (1): 2012 NCAA Tournament South Regional Open Game Thread

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Welcome to A Sea of Blue's Open Game Thread for the Kentucky Wildcats' opening game for the 2012 NCAA Tournament against the #16 seed, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Game particulars as follows, courtesy of UKAthletics.com:

Western Ky. at Kentucky
NCAA Tournament - Second Round
Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky
Thurs., Mar. 15 - 6:50 p.m. ET
Louisville, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | WKU Get Acrobat Reader
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As a Western Kentucky alum, this is always a tough game for yours truly. But it is what it is, and away we go for our first game of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

Western is a team that seemed to improve tremendously with the firing of former head coach Ken McDonald in January. They have now reeled off seven wins in a row, and have won these games with a combination of grit and savvy that belie the youth of this Western team. It has been an impressive run for new head coach Ray Harper.

Kentucky comes into a game off a loss for only the second time this year, dropping the SEC Tournament championship game to the Vanderbilt Commodores. It remains to be seen how that loss will play for the NCAA Tournament, but the last time the Wildcats lost, they reeled off 24 wins in a row. All they need to win the whole thing is six in a row.

Kentucky, to win tonight, needs to:

  • Take the ball inside to Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis relentlessly. Western does not have the size to handle them.
  • Allow Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to attack off the bounce. He will be very tough to handle.
  • Shoot threes only when they are wide open. Kentucky should not need them.
  • Defend the three. Western is not a good 3-point shooting team, but they are so small, that is almost their only option against Kentucky.

Let's hope for a good game from both teams. Enjoy.

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