For the fourth time in the last six seasons, the Kentucky Wildcats find themselves in the national semifinal game, this time, as the last time, against the Wisconsin Badgers. This is Kentucky’s toughest game of the season, albeit by not a huge margin — the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were terrific coming in, and they came as close as anyone has all year to handing Kentucky their first — and last — loss of the season.
Wisconsin is a different beast, but similar in many respects. Like Wisconsin, everyone on the Irish could shoot, could pass, and like Wisconsin, they were a very average defensive team with a short bench.
|Date:||Saturday, April 4th|
|Time||8:49 PM EDT|
|Place:||Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN|
|Radio:||UK Sports Network|
|Live Video:||March Madness|
|Live Audio:||Westwood One|
Essentials for victory
Attack the rim — Kentucky must attack the rim a lot. It’s going to be tempting to dump it down into the post every possession, but a critical part of this game is to force Wisconsin to defend dribble penetration against the bigger, stronger Kentucky guards.
Defend the three — Like vs. Notre Dame, Kentucky must force Wisconsin to put the ball on the floor. Ideally, Kentucky won’t break down on every third pick-and-roll that the Badgers run.
Rebound — Kentucky cannot surrender offensive rebounds to the Badgers. Wisconsin is not a great offensive rebounding team, but they are outstanding on the defensive glass. Kentucky must reduce them to ordinary.
Stay at home on shooters — Kentucky cannot help much this game. They have to trust their teammates to guard their men.
Take care of the ball — Kentucky cannot give the efficient badgers extra possessions.
Pressure the Badgers on defense — Kentucky must force the Badgers to run their offense with a short clock, and hope for quicker shots.
This is a really tough game for Kentucky. Wisconsin has a combination of size and shooting that the Wildcats simply have not seen this season. But if Kentucky is the best version of themselves, they have the size, skill and will to win that should be enough in this game. They have to play the right way, and be intense, but this is a game they can, and should win, although it is likely to be touch and go.