The day, the night has finally come. Ever since the bracket came out two weeks ago, this is a game both Kentucky and Indiana had circled on their calendar.
Indiana shocked the country on December 10th when Christian Watford buried a three-pointer as time expired, to lift IU past No. 1 Kentucky.
What a night that was.
Once the ball tips tonight, at approximately 9:45 p.m. EST on CBS, none of that matters.
Kentucky, the top-seed in the tournament, is the clear favorite. Even though they have downplayed the revenge element, it’s definitely a factor. Losing their first game of the season, to Indiana, was bad enough.
The Wildcats credited their early foul trouble and the hostile environment at Assembly Hall as to why lost. IU wants to show they can do it again.
I got the sense in the locker room yesterday, when talking to Indiana players, that they are prepared and eager to shine on the national stage. They know everything is against them and but judging by their body language, they are ready to compete.
Just like they did in 27 wins this year.
With Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky features the (probable) top two picks in June’s NBA draft. Indiana is deep, mentally tough and have proven their ability to overcome adversity.
I’ve talked to over a dozen media here in Atlanta, and not one has picked the Hoosiers to move on. The feel is that Indiana will play well, but Kentucky’s simply better.
It’s the must-see game of the weekend, hence the late-tip.
What I do know — this postseason game, with the season on the line for both teams, will be entertaining clash of rivals. Kentucky is on top of the basketball world for now and Indiana has re-emerged as a contender.
This should get you in the mood.