“The Best Game of the Tournament” – That’s what people were calling the potential WV-UK match up when they were filling out their brackets a few weeks back. At that time, just about everyone was picking West Virginia to pull the upset; now, the consensus is shifting back towards UK. Part of that is due to the way Kentucky’s played in their first three games of the tournament, and part of it is due to the injury to Truck Bryant. But even without him, WV still matches up with Kentucky better than any team left in the field. Ebanks has already said he’ll be guarding Wall, and you won’t find many players in the country with more length and athleticism than Ebanks. I believe he’s 6’8” and it’s almost all limbs.
But as dangerous as WV is, people need to remember that Kentucky is still much, much more talented. I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but if we hit shots from the outside, it doesn’t matter who we’re up against. This team can score in ways that West Virginia can’t, and if we do that tomorrow night, we’ll be just fine.
Also, I’m not looking ahead, but I just want to be the first to say it: If Kentucky beats WV and Duke beats Baylor (which I think will actually be a tough match up for them), the Duke-UK contest will be the most-watched national semi-final game ever. The hype leading up to it will be unreal, and I can’t think of a team I’d rather beat if we make it that far. I’ll talk more about this if/when it actually happens.
I’ll leave you with this article by Yahoo!’s Dan Wetzel. He does a great job of explaining how and why this game is so important to the people of West Virginia and Kentucky. There aren’t many (if any) states whose flagship schools have more clout within their respective borders than these two.