The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Kentucky gets its revenge on Indiana, advances to Elite Eight

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Darius Miller (Getty Images)

For more than three months, Kentucky has been forced to endure the sight of Christian Watford's game-winning buzzer-beater on everything from commercials to highlight shows to game broadcasts.

On Saturday, the Wildcats got sweet revenge.

In a fast-paced, aesthetically pleasing game in which both teams shot well and combined for just 14 turnovers, top-seeded Kentucky outlasted fourth-seeded Indiana 102-90 to advance to the South Regional title game against third-seeded Baylor. Most encouraging for the Wildcats was they managed to win despite star freshman Anthony Davis playing just six first-half minutes as a result of foul trouble.

The biggest reason Kentucky won was it consistently got to the foul line and converted, making an incredible 35 of 37 free throws. Indiana's suspect perimeter defense couldn't stay in front of the Wildcats' perimeter players off the dribble, especially Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller, who had a combined 64 points and sank all 23 of their free throws.

Kidd-Gilchrist's 24 points were especially significant since he had been all but invisible the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.

Credit Indiana for proving wrong those who thought a motivated Kentucky team would run the Hoosiers out of the gym. Watford lit up the Wildcats for 27 and freshman center Cody Zeller shook off first-half foul trouble to score 20 points, never allowing Kentucky to stretch its lead to a comfortable margin until the final minutes. 

If Kentucky left satisfied with a win that kept its national title hopes alive, Indiana cannot be too crushed by the outcome.

In coach Tom Crean's first three seasons in charge of Indiana's scandal-tainted program, the Hoosiers played in front of tepid home crowds, floundered on the road and lost 66 total games. This year's Indiana team revitalized a proud program, advanced further in the NCAA tournament than anyone expected entering the season and paved the way for what should be a return to elite status next year.

More NCAA tournament content on Yahoo! Sports:
Tar Heels in Elite Eight — but also in the danger zone
Quincy Acy leads way as Baylor moves into Elite Eight
Rick Pitino the survivor has Louisville one win from Final Four

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