Indiana played pretty close to a perfect game on December 10th.
That was the day that the Hoosiers, then undefeated but unranked, knocked off Kentucky in one of the season’s best games with one of the year’s most memorable shots.
Indiana shot 9-15 from three that day. They won the battle of the back boards, they put five players in double figures and they managed to get Anthony Davis — who never fouls — into foul trouble.
The problem, however, is that many of the issues that Kentucky faced they brought upon themselves. Like, for example, the fact that Terrence Jones spent much of the second half pouting about the fact that he wasn’t playing well. He finished the game with four points, one rebound and six turnovers in 28 minutes. Jones seems to have gotten his head screwed back on over the last couple of month, which should make him a different player.
The other issue is that while Davis did get in foul trouble against the Hoosiers the first time they played, that was basically the last time he’s had foul problems. In the 27 games he’s played since then, Davis has committed three fouls just four times, hasn’t picked up four fouls in a game and has gone without a foul three times.
Need I mention the fact that Marquis Teague is playing his best basketball of the season and Verdell Jones III is out with a torn ACL?
And you’re wondering why this game has all-but been given to Kentucky already?
That said, you’d be crazy to think that the Hoosiers won’t come to play. Remember, this is an Indiana team playing with house money right now. Not only have they already beaten Kentucky this season — having confidence you can win against a team of Kentucky’s stature is half the battle — but they’ve made it farther than anyone expected them to.
Indiana wasn’t supposed to be in the NCAA tournament this year, let alone in the Sweet 16. They were called overrated for months after their hot start. They were a trendy pick to get knocked off in the first weekend. And yet, here they are.
Playing the overwhelming favorite to win the national title who just so happens to be a heated rival.
Indiana has nothing to lose. And that’s what makes them so dangerous.