Indiana looking to reheat rivalry with Kentucky

  • 03/18/2016 6:34 pm in

DES MOINES, Iowa — To each fan base, the rivalry still has meaning.

The Hoosier faithful and Big Blue Nation will clash off the court, but will it be the same from the teams on the court?

The two teams haven’t played in four years, when Kentucky beat Indiana in the Sweet 16, and the normal bitterness between rivals just isn’t there with the current rosters.

Kentucky’s Skal Labissiere said UK doesn’t really even care about the rivalry. Isaiah Briscoe said he isn’t familiar at all with Yogi Ferrell. Tyler Ulis said he didn’t know a whole lot about the the history between the schools since he hasn’t played IU. Coach John Calipari was the only one in blue that had much to say about it.

“The fans on both sides will be into it and it should be good,” Calipari said.

When the two historically powerful teams meet Saturday at 5:15 p.m. EST at Wells Fargo Arena, it’ll be a chance for the classic rivalry to be reheated again. Two teams that are too good to be playing against each other in second round. Two teams that will dominate the conversation in the college basketball world no matter the result.

“This is just us versus them now,” Ferrell said. “We’re not going to treat them any different than Chattanooga.”

Hoosiers want to push the tempo

All season long, IU has been pushing the tempo on offense. It wants to do the same against the Wildcats.

The match-up to watch is Ferrell and Ulis, two of the best point guards in the entire country. Ulis averages 17 points and 7.1 assists per game compared to Ferrell’s 17.1 points and 5.7 assists a contest. In a rare occurrence, Ferrell will hold the height advantage – as Ulis is only 5-foot-9.

Despite the high profile match-up, Ferrell said he doesn’t usually get up for individual stuff.

“This is a team effort,” Ferrell said. “5-on-5, it’s not 1-on-1, 5-on-1, this is 5 versus 5. I don’t get too hyped up in the match-up, go out, play the same we would have played all year, stick to our strengths, not try to do anything fancy, just try to go out there and get the win.”

Both teams like to push the pace, and it could result in a high scoring affair.

“The key is always stay in movement,” Ferrell said. “We always like to preach on moving the ball, and I feel like against a team such as Kentucky since they play such great defense you’ve gotta move the ball, wear ’em down a little bit, try and get those bigs out, penetrate the ball into the lane, kick it out and just find a way. You especially can’t go in there and drive in on those bigs.”

Johnson recalls first meeting with Murray

Kentucky freshman guard Jamal Murray will likely be a lottery pick in June’s NBA draft, but this isn’t the first time Indiana sophomore guard Robert Johnson will go head-to-head with one of the nation’s top scorers.

The two met on Jan. 14, 2014 as Murray and Athlete Institute traveled to Richmond, Virginia, to face Johnson and Benedictine College Preparatory Academy.

At the time, as Johnson recalls, Murray wasn’t a household name nationally, but the head-to-head matchup produced big numbers for both players.

“When he blew up, I was surprised because I didn’t really remember a lot,” Johnson recalls. “He’s a talented scorer, he’s gotten a lot better and you get excited to play against the backcourt they have.”

Murray scored 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, but had five turnovers as Benedictine beat Athlete Institute, 77-58.

Johnson, meanwhile, had 21 points, five assists, four rebounds and just one turnover in that contest.

“I was sick and thinking about not playing,” Johnson added. “I thought it was going to be a really big game, I thought it was going to be one of those really hard games, but I don’t remember it being that close.”

(Photo credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

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  • BL

    Checkout UK/TAM game on youtube – watch?v=IXWbde5hTgs. We can definitely beat these guys. I would put TB on Poythress and Lee and let our wings take Skal and Wilis. Skal is not that athletic. Also, I would absolutely run some plays where YF can post up Ulis. RJ can handle Murray. Biggest thing, we need to nail down our pick n roll D strategy. Damn, I’m pumped. Let’s go Hoosiers!

  • bpw97214

    OF COURSE Kentucky’s players have no clue about the rivalry. They are there to get to the NBA and not play for the name on the front of the jersey. That is the Kentucky culture in a nutshell.

  • VegasHoosier

    Exactly.

  • Ms hoosier

    Brisco said “I’m not familiar at all with Yogi Ferrell”don’t they sound cocky!!

  • Lance76

    Maybe Brisco will know his name a little better after the game is over.

  • Listening to the players’ presser, the kids did a great job avoiding anything that might be posted in the UK locker room tomorrow. In fact, they had fun with it. Looks like they’re locked in for tomorrow.

    I’ll call out Yogi, though. He looks like Iceman. No messing around, all business (mostly, he did crack a smile once or twice). If nothing else, this team seems really, really focused on business and has an appreciation for how hard it will be to win tomorrow.

  • Yes, I loved to see that as well. If you’re not familiar with Yogi, then you’re in for quite the surprise.

  • Yeesh, I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve who really, really hopes he’ll get exactly what he wants for Christmas but isn’t sure because it’s really expensive and his parents might not be able to afford it but it’s what he wanted all year long and man is it Christmas morning yet please and now I can’t go to sleep because I’m JUST TOO NERVOUS.

  • Watched a few minutes, don’t have the time (or stomach) to watch more at the moment. Here’s what I notice: Ulis bull-rushed straight into his defender twice, obvious offensive fouls, neither was called. On one just almost stiff-armed the guy. He also obviously traveled on at least one occasion. And that was in the first six minutes. I hope it’s not called like that tomorrow. And yes, I think Yogi can take Ulis–he’s just as quick (maybe quicker) and much stronger.

  • BL

    I saw the same thing before the Chatt game and was worried they’d be too tight. I like it, YF is here for one thing and one thing only; banner 6, and his teammates are rallying around their leader.

  • “his teammates are rallying around their leader.” I can’t remember a team where that’s been nearly as true.

  • BL

    Ulis is very quick but also very, very short. We’ve got to make him shoot over our length before he gets deep in the paint. Our bigs have to be really good tomorrow at lunge/retreat and help side defenders have to add congestion to the driving lanes. I’m certain the coaches will have a good defensive plan. Players have to work really hard on execution for 40 minutes.

    I think they’ll have as much or more trouble guarding us. A&M got a lot of open looks and Skal and Willis don’t have good lateral quickness.

  • I’ll say this, and take it for what it’s worth: so far, the only B1G team to unequivocally take care of business so far is IU. MSU and PU lost, and MD, Wiscy, and Iowa squeaked by. UM is leading ND, but it’s early. Didn’t see the Wiscy game but 47-43? That must have been an ugly one.

  • I’m _almost_ done talking about the game, because I’m getting to that point where I just want it to play out already. But you make a great point: it’s easy to focus on the opposition and forget that they have to guard us as well. When this offense is clicking, it’s tough to stop, as much as anybody’s and more than most.

    And on that note, I’m going to go try and distract myself for, oh, about 18 hours. 🙂

  • ForeverIU

    Is there a more boring brand of basketball than Wisconsin’s?

  • Koko

    A day before the Chatt game Yogi was asked if the team had seen some sights in Des Moines. He said no we’re on a business trip.

  • ForeverIU

    I said it, and I’ll say it again. Exit the B1G tourney early, don’t worry about seeding, protect your good karma, and trust the basketball gods to get you favorable match-ups. You can’t overthink the process at this point. And we shouldn’t overthink the pUKe game. I’m glad they’ve never heard of us; they live in lower realms, and looking upward is hard on their necks.

  • BL

    Yes, that was perfect.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Yogi is obviously far inferior to Ulis, not even rated on the same page nationally, in fact the players have never even heard of him. We might as well give the game to pUKe right now, spare the embarassment. NOT!

    Those arrogant SOBs need to go down. In Sarasota, they take over a couple of bars and are completely unbearable, guess that doesn’t change anywhere you go. Never thought I would say this but I hate pUKe more than PU, because of the fans. GO HOOSIERS!

  • sarge

    No, clearly Wiscy is hard to watch. This year especially.

  • Sandra Wilson

    Winning is never boring…..Did you think they were boring last year ?…..Would you rather have them streaking up and down the floor and turning it over 20 times only to lose ?

  • Sandra Wilson

    Exiting the tourney early is what got us the #5 seed and a matchup with UK and then UNC if we win……There is no possible way we could have had a worse position in this tourney…..One win in the B1G tourney and we’re a #4 and avoid all this….Two wins and we might have had a #3 and may have been put in A&M’s slot, which is a pass to the Elite 8…..I’ll agree with one thing you said, you haven’t over thought it !

  • ForeverIU

    You sound like a control freak!

  • ForeverIU

    I like basketball with soul. I like anything with soul, Nurse Ratched 🙂

  • Koko

    Yes that is an obvious slight to Yogi and our team. Does this player who said that really think we would believe that? In my opinion he is making his coach look rather silly implying Calipari has not brought up containing Yogi. There are those who don’t like Calipari but he isn’t a stupid coach.

  • Great place and time to display the “Wat Shot” sure wish I had skill to make it happen, someone out there?