March 25, 2012 in Preview
Who/When: No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats vs. No. 3 Baylor Bears, 2:20 p.m. (CBS)
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Announcers: Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg
How They Got Here: Kentucky beat No. 16 Western Kentucky, 81-66, No. 8 Iowa State, 87-71, and No. 4 Indiana, 102-90; Baylor beat No. 14 South Dakota State, 68-60, No. 11 Colorado, 80-63, and No. 10 Xavier, 75-70.
Coaches: John Calipari (Kentucky) and Scott Drew (Baylor)
History: UK is 5-7 in the Elite Eight since 1985 and has reached 14 Final Fours overall (1942, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1966, 1975, 1978, 1984, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2011); Baylor is 0-1 in the Elite Eight since 1985 and has reached two Final Fours overall (1948 and 1950).
Why Kentucky Will Win: It takes a special team to beat Kentucky and it seems that Baylor isn't it. The Wildcats have a very good — if not great — offense and defense and are on a roll right now, putting up an NBA-esque 102 points against Indiana Friday night. That being said, they still need to execute well and stay on their game plan. Baylor did not win the Big 12 tournament title on a fluke and will overcome the Wildcats if UK doesn't stick to what got them here: a talented roster centering around Anthony Davis, Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Davis can dominate the center and is hard to contain one-on-one.
Why Baylor Will Win: Coach Scott Drew's got magic, having led the Bears to the Elite Eight in two of the last three years. They've got Perry Jones III, Pierre Jackson, Quincy Acy, and Quincy Miller playing extremely well and certainly can take advantage should Kentucky make mistakes. And that's the key to beating the Wildcats: get their stars in foul trouble and out of their comfort zone. Baylor also can take a page from Syracuse, who got two quick fouls on Jared Sullinger and got him on the bench before the game was even seven minutes old. If the Bears can got at Davis and get to the paint, then they've got a chance to win. If they settle for jumpers, they'll fall into Kentucky's hands and it could be another long day for a Wildcats opponent.
What I Expect: Kentucky is the better team here and Baylor doesn't have the defensive prowess to slow down the best team in the country. The two teams to beat Kentucky this year, Indiana and Vanderbilt, held Kentucky to 72 and 64 points, respectively, and I don't see Baylor doing that.
Prediction: The Wildcats move onto the Final Four, where the real fun will begin.