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Tuesday, Feb. 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

4 keys stand out from past contest against Kentucky

While junior forward Christian Watford’s shot is in the midst of being replayed again and again by various networks this week, here is a look at four key aspects from IU’s 73-72 victory against Kentucky on Dec. 10 that could very well come into play again this Friday.

Anthony Davis’ foul trouble

It is no secret what Anthony Davis means to Kentucky with his presence on the court. Before he picked up his first foul at the 8:50 mark of the first half, the Wildcats led 16-12. He picked up his second foul just 37 seconds later and sat on the bench for the rest of the half. IU went on an 18-6 run after Davis’ first foul, stretching the lead to 30-22 with 2:31 left in the first half.

Davis started the second half and helped Kentucky regain the lead 35-34 with 17:35 to play. He then committed his third foul during a Victor Oladipo offensive rebound, which sent him back to the bench and ignited an 11-0 IU run. His fourth and final foul came on a Verdell Jones III 3-pointer with 12 minutes remaining, and Davis sat for the next 5:32 as the Hoosiers maintained their lead throughout that stretch.

Even though Davis’ stat line — six points and nine rebounds — was modest
compared to most games, his mere presence on the court was enough to make a big difference. When Davis was playing, the Wildcats outscored the Hoosiers by 11 points. During his time on the bench, IU returned the favor, outscoring Kentucky by 12 points.

Foul trouble doesn’t affect Davis often. Since the IU game, he hasn’t had a game of more than four fouls and has finished a game with three fouls just four times. Can IU involve Davis in ball screens and utilize freshman forward Cody Zeller’s ability to stretch the defense to pull the SEC Player of the Year away from the basket?

Marquis Teague’s tale of two halves

Heading into the Dec. 10 meeting, Wildcats point guard Marquis Teague was routinely asked what it would be like returning to his home state to take on the Hoosiers. Nothing could prepare Teague for the atmosphere that took place in Assembly Hall, and it showed during the first half.

In his first collegiate road game, Teague missed all five of his shot attempts and had three turnovers in 15 minutes. He missed several layups, and Coach John Calipari benched his point guard for the final 3:41 of the half.

Teague didn’t start the second half and re-entered with Kentucky trailing 45-35 with 15:50 left. The Indianapolis native wasted no time asserting himself as he closed out the game, making all six of his shots, and was a perfect 3-of-3 from the foul line.

Developing point guards has been Calipari’s forte during the past few years, and maybe Teague has turned the corner after coming off a career-high 24 points and seven assists in Kentucky’s 87-71 win against Iowa State on Saturday. Will the first-half or second-half Teague show up at the Georgia Dome this weekend?

Verdell Jones III’s absence and point guard depth

It didn’t take long Saturday to see the ball-handling void the Hoosiers are experiencing without Jones in the lineup. The senior played 34 minutes against Kentucky, scoring eight points. He did have five turnovers against the Wildcats, but knocked down the first shot of each half for the Hoosiers and had the game-winning assist. In the team’s first meeting, senior Daniel Moore played five minutes off the bench, and senior Matt Roth and freshman Remy Abell did not see the floor.

Roth and Moore have seen their minutes flip since that meeting, and it will be interesting to see how the Kentucky native Abell handles playing against his home-state school. Kentucky didn’t show much full-court pressure in the team’s first meeting, but fans will see if they do with the Hoosiers coming off a season-high 22 turnovers against Virginia Commonwealth University.

Junior guard Jordan Hulls is coming off a visibly frustrating five-turnover performance, but he has a knack for stepping up on the biggest of stages. He gets another chance to prove that Friday.

INDIANA’S 3-POINT SHOOTING

The 9-of-15 (60 percent) 3-point shooting performance Dec. 10 was the second-highest percentage the Wildcats have allowed all season. At one point during the second half, the Hoosiers hit seven straight 3-pointers. In a night when IU scored just 24 points in the paint, compared to 50 by the Wildcats, the Hoosiers relied on three players knocking down the nine 3-pointers.

Watford (4-of-6), Hulls (3-of-6) and Will Sheehey (2-2) accounted for the 27 points from behind the arc. The Hoosiers were 7-of-9 from 3-pointer land in the second half. Could Roth get lost in the defense like he has done so many times this year and provide a spark off the bench?

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