(3) Connecticut vs. (4) Kentucky
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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(3) Connecticut Huskies
Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams, the tournament’s two biggest stars, met up in the Elite Eight as the Connecticut Huskies took on the Arizona Wildcats. Both had been on a tear, but Williams was relatively held in check as Walker led his Huskies to a 65-63 victory 20 points and seven assists. Williams’ three-point shot with 10 seconds left was off, as was Jamelle Horne’s triple after an offensive rebound that could have won the game for the Wildcats. Their misses really epitomized the kind of night that Arizona had as they were just 4-21 from deep, two nights after going 9-15 against Duke. Jeremy Lamb was once again a steady source of offense alongside Walker, going for 19 points. The Huskies had a real hard time on the boards, getting outrebounded 39-28. The Wildcats got 16 offensive rebounds, but they were unable to convert their second-chance opportunities at a high enough rate. Kentucky will undoubtedly look to take advantage of them on the boards as well, so they have to improve their effort in that area and make sure that Kemba outduels Knight.
(4) Kentucky Wildcats
There were more than five future first-round picks in the Kentucky Wildcats’ Elite Eight matchup against the North Carolina Tar Heels and on Sunday afternoon Brandon Knight was the best of the group. He controlled the game for Kentucky, coming up with one big shot after another to hold off every run the Tar Heels attempted to make. He finished with a game-high 22 points, including five three pointers, while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out four assists. Overall the Wildcats got a very well-balanced effort offensively outside of Knight, with all four other starters notching double figures. Through the tournament the Tar Heels’ frontline had been flat-out dominant, but the Wildcats managed to slow down Harrison Barnes and Jon Henson. Tyler Zeller had a big night with 21 points, nine rebounds and four blocks but it wasn’t enough to pick up the slack for the cold-shooting Barnes and foul-plagued Henson. To keep their incredible run going they’re going to have get another solid performance from Knight as he goes head-to-head with Kemba Walker with their bigs maintaining their current level of play.
HOOPSWORLD’s Pick: UConn. Kentucky fans should breathe a sigh of relief as we’re not going to jump on the bandwagon after picking against them for most of the tournament. UConn has proved us right game in and game out, so we’re not going to go against them at this point.