clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

West Virginia Mountaineers (5) @ Kentucky Wildcats (4): Open Game Thread

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

So here it is, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation -- the 2011 rematch between the Kentucky Wildcats and the West Virginia Mountaineers, two Elite Eight teams from last year's NCAA Tournament. No doubt Kentucky fans will recall that the Mountaineers dismissed the 'Cats from the tournament last year in which Kentucky had become the favorite to win.

Details of the game are as follows, Via

West Virginia @ Kentucky
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | West Virginia Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Sat., Mar. 19, 12:15 p.m. ET
Location St. Pete Times Forum
Tampa, Fla.
Kentucky Seniors Video

The Mountaineers got here by defeating the Clemson Tigers 84-76 on Thursday, and Kentucky reached this point by narrowly escaping the Princeton Tigers 59-57, also on Thursday.

Now that both teams have handled the tigers in their midst, they get to face off against each other for the right to go to New Jersey for the East regional games.

For the West Virginia spin on things, be sure to visit the SB Nation Mountaineers blog, the Smoking Musket.

Keys to a Kentucky win:

  • Keep the rebounding matchup close. West Virginia's strongest ability is how they attack the offensive glass, and if UK can minimize that advantage, they have an excellent shot at winning.
  • Take the ball out of Joe Mazzulla's hands as much as possible. Mazzulla is the key to the West Virginia offense, and if UK can keep him from efficiently running the team, it will be a very good sign.
  • Attack the gaps in the 1-3-1. Kentucky must force the zone to move, and the only way to do that is to attack the gaps in order to get open looks from three.
  • Make 3-point baskets. Kentucky is very good at this, and they need to make them today. The one major advantage this team has over last year is that the 2011 version of Kentucky shoots the ball really well.
  • Get Kevin Jones and John Flowers in foul trouble. Both these guys can score, and if UK can send them to the bench early, WVU will struggle to put up points.
  • Avoid foul trouble. WVU is very good at drawing fouls, so Kentucky must continue to avoid the cheap fouls that so often threaten the lineup.

Keys to a West Virgina win:

  • Force Kentucky to shoot challenged shots. Kentucky has a tendency to get impatient on offense and shoot bad shots, and if WVU can maximize that, they have a good chance of sending Kentucky home for the second straight year.
  • Make free throws. West Virginia gets to the line a lot, and if they make them, it will help make up for the shooting deficiency they suffer from.
  • Don't let Terrence Jones get off. Jones has been in a slump lately, and if West Virginia can continue that, it will help their cause.
  • Attack the basket off the dribble. Kentucky is a good defensive team, but if WVU can attack the basket and draw some fouls, they can wind up facing Kentucky's less-skilled bench.

I know we all want to avenge last year, but honestly, give me a 1-point victory in this game and I will be as happy as a clam. The Mountaineers are very tough, and they will fight us to whatever end. Kentucky must not forget that.

Go, 'Cats