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Game preview: No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 5 West Virginia


No. Player Pos. GP MIN PTS REB

12 Brandon Knight G 34 35.6 17.0 3.9

3 Terrence Jones F 34 31.4 16.3 8.7

20 Doron Lamb G 34 28.9 12.8 2.1

1 Darius Miller G 34 30.9 11.4 4.7

34 DeAndre Liggins G 34 31.1 8.6 4.0

55 Josh Harrellson F 34 27.9 7.0 8.8

30 Eloy Vargas F 34 8.2 1.6 2.1

4 Jon Hood G 30 5.1 0.9 0.7

5 Jarrod Polson G 17 1.8 0.4 0.1

2 Stacey Poole G 16 2.8 0.3 0.5

Coach: John CalipariRecord: 26-8

Tournament moments

The Wildcats have been on the losing end of two of the biggest games in NCAA Tournament history. Texas Western, the first team to start five African-Americans, upset Kentucky in the 1966 national title game. Of course, there also was the last-second shot by Duke's Christian Laettner in the region final in 1992. But in 1996, coach Rick Pitino helped Kentucky end its stretch of 18 seasons without a national championship.


"I've seen the shot once." — Brandon Knight, on if he has watched replays of his last-second, winning shot against Princeton on Thursday

About the school

Location: Lexington, Ky.

Enrollment: 27,209

Famous alumni: Actor Ashley Judd, Outback Steakhouse founder Chris Sullivan, Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton


No. Player Pos. GP MIN PTS REB

3 Casey Mitchell G 29 23.8 13.7 2.9

5 Kevin Jones F 32 34.8 13.3 7.4

25 Darryl Bryant G 31 26.5 11.1 2.4

41 John Flowers F 32 30.2 9.4 6.4

21 Joe Mazzulla G 32 28.6 7.3 3.9

13 Deniz Kilicli F 32 16.4 6.7 4.0

32 Dalton Pepper G 31 12.1 4.0 1.6

4 Jonnie West G 22 8.4 3.0 0.7

2 Cam Thoroughman F 32 19.8 2.7 3.8

34 Kevin Noreen F 7 5.6 2.6 1.7

30 Danny Jennings F 14 8.6 2.1 2.5

12 Kenny Ross G 5 2.0 0.0 0.4

15 Craig Carey G 3 1.3 0.0 0.3

20 Jake Ferguson F 2 1.0 0.0 0.0

Coach: Bob HugginsRecord: 21-11

Tournament moment

In 1959, the Mountaineers lost to California in the NCAA title game despite its star, Jerry West, being named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player.


"I love to go up there and tee off on those guys like that." — Mountaineers forward Cam Thoroughman on his devastating backcourt screens

About the school

Location: Los Angeles

Enrollment: 38,000

Famous alumni: Baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson; singer Jim Morrison of the Doors; Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; actor Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Kentucky freshmen Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb had just finished practice for the McDonald's High School All-American Game last year when they tuned in for the Wildcats' loss to West Virginia in the region final. "We saw the whole game and how (Kentucky) struggled to shoot the ball and to get them out of the zone by shooting the ball," Jones said.

The Wildcats missed their first 20 3-pointers of the game and made 4 of 32 overall thanks, in part, to the Mountaineers' suffocating 1-3-1 zone defense.

"A lot of their shots were contested, under duress from the 1-3-1," said Mountaineers guard Joe Mazzulla, who scored 17 and beat Kentucky's press for three layups. "It got them off of the 3-point line and probably a few steps back.

"We can't let them get standstill shots, and we can't let them set their feet. If we can make them rush their 3-pointers and if we can get a hand in their face, then hopefully it'll be the same result."

Keep shooting: Speaking of missing shots, Knight missed his first seven Thursday against Princeton before his last-second winner.

HUGGY BEAR: Maybe it was the heart attack he suffered in 2002, but West Virginia coach Bob Huggins has actually … uh … mellowed through the years.

"Oh, you should've seen me back when," Huggins said Friday.

Even so, watching Huggins work officials and direct his players from the bench is worth the price of a ticket.

"What you see on TV really the majority of the time is just … because they have a camera on me all the time," Huggins said. "They don't have a camera on those other guys all the time.

"They have a camera on me all the time just waiting for me to do something stupid. And generally, I oblige."

CAL'S COOL OFFENSE: Kentucky coach John Calipari has had a lot of success attracting the nation's top players due, in part, to his offense. He allows players to break down defenders off the dribble to create scoring opportunities.

"The reason I went to the dribble-drive motion was points per possession," he said. "I think your efficiency is better because you're trying to get layups or open 3s. You're trying to get to the foul line.

"You're not going to have a whole lot of assists, but you're not going to have a whole lot of turnovers, either. So your efficiency is better. Kids like to see it. They look at it and say, 'He lets them play.' Well, there's organization to what we're doing. It's not just, 'Here, go do your thing.' "









Game preview: No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 5 West Virginia 03/18/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 18, 2011 8:58pm]
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