CRAWFORD | How Indiana beats Kentucky: 5 thoughts - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | How Indiana beats Kentucky: 5 thoughts

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AP photo. AP photo.

DES MOINES, Iowa (WDRB) — Indiana coach Tom Crean and his players, no doubt, will enter Saturday’s NCAA Round of 32 matchup with Kentucky with an encyclopedic knowledge of the Wildcats.

Unfortunately, knowing what to do and being able to do it against Kentucky are two different things.

Tom Crean, in the second sentence of his news conference Friday, basically laid it all out.

“We've got to get back and we've got to get there right away in the lane and then you've got to do a good job of staying in front of the dribble,” Crean said. “Our help has got to be fantastic. And they are one of the best teams in the country, as usual, at rebounding the ball, so we've got to do a great job of blocking out. Offensively for us, there is no question if we come down and try to attack that set defense or try to challenge them at the basket or if we don't get great spacing and ball movement, we'll play right into their hands and with what they're doing with blocked shots on the year — and especially last night — we played some good shot-blocking teams this year, especially a team back home like Purdue.”

He didn’t exactly finish that last thought. And I’m glad. Because he just about wrote my whole story. But let’s take a look at how Indiana wins this game.

1. LIMITING TURNOVERS. The Hoosiers are so efficient that if they don’t turn the ball over, they have a good chance of scoring. It’s as simple as that. What isn’t simple is handling the ball pressure that Tyler Ulis applies, and that will be the most important job in this game for Yogi Ferrell. If he gets carried away with putting up numbers, the Hoosiers could be in trouble. If he protects the ball, gets it moving on offense and stays out of foul trouble, his scoring opportunities will come.

2. CRASHING THE OFFENSIVE GLASS. Both of these teams are among the best offensive-rebounding teams in the country, but Kentucky has been more susceptible to giving up big offensive rebounds. If the Hoosiers can take advantage of that, it could offset the defensive advantage Kentucky looks to have.

3. MOVING THE BALL. Crean said a ton when he talked about ball movement and not attacking Kentucky’s set defense. After ball reversal, there are lanes for passes and drives. Kentucky, defensively, will look to choke off Indiana’s ball movement by denying on defense and shading into passing lanes. The Hoosiers should get some back-door opportunities, if they’re alert.

4. CONTAINING THE DRIBBLE DRIVE. Crean mentioned help defense, and that’s going to be crucial, but even when the help rotates, Kentucky is outstanding and finding the lob pass for the dunk. Frankly, I don’t know if Indiana can stop Kentucky. But the Hoosiers could slow their offense a bit with throwing in some zone looks, and by making sure it is solid on the defensive boards.

5. OG ANUNOBY AND TROY WILLIAMS HAVE HUGE GAMES. Athletically, these guys are X-factors. They are as gifted in that department as anyone Kentucky has. Anunoby, without question, will find himself on Jamal Murray a great deal. Williams might to. The job they are able to do on him will determine winning and losing for the Hoosiers. Murray is an automatic 20 points. If you cut into that significantly, Kentucky has to go elsewhere, and the offense gets much more difficult, as the Wildcats showed when Murray went 1-for-9 against Stony Brook in the first half Thursday night.

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