Breaking Down the Big Ten NCAA Tournament Matchups Round of 16 – Friday Games

The Field of 68 is now down to 12, with Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin all winning games over the past weekend. Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin played on Thursday night.

To see the NCAA Tournament bracket, or other post-season brackets, click here.

For each of the remaining 16 teams records against the spread, click here.

I’ll break down each game of the NCAA Tournament involving Big Ten teams. Today, I’ll cover the only Friday’s Sweet 16 game involving a Big Ten team.

#4 Indiana (27-8) (11-7 Big Ten) vs. #1 Kentucky (34-2) (16-0 SEC)

Game Time: 9:45 PM EST (approx) on Friday.

TV: CBS.

Winner Plays: #3 Baylor/#10 Xavier (on Sunday).

Indiana: Indiana disposed of New Mexico State on Thursday night, beating the Aggies by 13 in a game in which New Mexico State never led, and the Hoosiers led by as much as 21 points. The Hoosiers followed that up by beating VCU on Saturday, a game in which the Rams were in control for most of the time. 5-star forward Cody Zeller (15.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 62.2 Field Goal Shooting Percentage), 4-star forward Christian Watford (12.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 44.5 Three Point Shooting Percentage), and 3-star guard Jordan Hulls (11.7 PPG, 50.7 Field Goal Shooting Percentage, and 49.3 Three Point Shooting Percentage) led the Hoosiers this season. Indiana will be without 3-star Verdell Jones III (7.5 PPG and 3.2 APG) for the rest of the season, based on an ACL injury suffered in the Big Ten Tournament.

Kentucky: After a loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC Conference Tournament Championship, Kentucky has had back-to-back double digits wins in the NCAA Tournament, beating Western Kentucky by 15 and Iowa State by 16, with both games occurring in Louisville. The Wildcats, coached by John Calipari, now head down the road to Atlanta, for the South Regional. Kentucky is presumptive player of the year and 5-star forward Anthony Davis (14.3 PPG, 10.1 RPG, and 63.6 Field Goal Shooting Percentage), 5-star guard Doron Lamb (13.4 PPG, 84.2 Free Throw Shooting Percentage, and 47.0 Three Point Shooting Percentage), 5-star forward Terrence Jones (12.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 50.2 Field Goal Shooting Percentage), and 5-star forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (11.5 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 73.5 Free Throw Shooting Percentage).

My Take: Kentucky’s only regular season loss was at Indiana, by 1, back in December. The Hoosiers won the game by shooting 60% from three-point land, despite only shooting 43% from the field. Indiana also made 14-of-17 from the free throw line, while Kentucky made 10-of-17. Indiana is 4th in the nation in field goal shooting percentage, shooting 50%, on average; Kentucky is 23rd, shooting 43.3%. Both of the teams shoot the ball fairly well too, with both teams shooting 48.7% from the field. In fact, the only noticeable difference appears to be in the rebounding game, where the Wildcats are averaging about 5 more rebounds per game. There is no doubt that Indiana could knock off Kentucky again. But with a large rebounding differential, I have my doubts.

The Pick: Kentucky -8.

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