[Moderated by Matt Jones]
We’re only moments away from the meeting between the Kentucky Wildcats and Baylor Bears in what will be an incredibly athletic contest. The Bears post one of the quickest teams in the nation, while the Cats have one of the biggest.
I was discussing the game just this morning with a friend of mine and he was giving Baylor a 50/50 shot in this one. I was inclined to disagree, but he made some good points about their athleticism. Look at the game Baylor played against Xavier on Friday night—Quincy Acy was consistently open on inbound plays, getting behind the Muskies’ defense and getting a quick jam. He finished the game with 20 points.
He will almost certainly have to be the Bears’ x-factor today as they run into the Cats’ amazing defense. That defense is led by freshman phenom Anthony Davis, who was rather quiet in the game against Indiana. He gathered a good 12 rebounds, but played only 25 minutes and posted a meager nine points. While it’s certain that he is important the Big Blue Nation, there’s another young man who has really stepped up.
That man is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. After a relatively quiet first two games, he exploded against Christian Watford and the Indiana Hoosiers, going for 24 points and 10 rebounds. While Baylor is surely athletic, I don’t think there is a guy on their team that will be able to keep up with MKG for 35-40 minutes.
Here’s what the game boils down to: if Baylor’s athletic team can co-exist and actually work together (as inconsistency has been their downfall), they will win. They have good speed and God knows Brady Heslip can be deadly from beyond the arc—that could bit the Cats in the rear end.
As for the Cats, their defense is going to have to win this one. Baylor is a very good offensive squad and if you shut down their offense, you shut down their only attack. They’re not entirely gifted on the defensive side of the ball. Get MKG to keep Heslip in check, hopefully Davis stays out of foul trouble and keeps Acy on the ground—that will result in another Final Four appearance.
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