Further Reading: SB Nation's Kentucky blog, A Sea Of Blue. If you want to join in on the fun this evening, visit their Game Thread.
The final game of Thursday night's Sweet 16 action pits Ivy League Cinderellas Cornell against No. 1 Kentucky, in a matchup of two of the more dominant teams from the first weekend. The winner will move on to the Elite Eight and play on Saturday, against either West Virginia.
Here's how our own Blogging The Bracket's Chris Dobbertean sees Thursday night's game:
Kentucky presents numerous matchup issue for Cornell, but one in particular stands out to me. Jeff Foote has been impressive inside for the Big Red, but he may struggle against the physical combo on DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson. If Foote is limited inside, the Big Red will have to shoot more threes, which could result in one-and-done possessions and transition baskets for John Wall and the Wildcats.
My pick: Kentucky
From the Sports Network preview:
Cornell is led by Ivy League Player of the Year Ryan Wittman, who is scoring 17.8 ppg on the strength of his 43.0 percent shooting from three-point range. While that efficiency from behind the arc is tremendous by most standards, it actually leaves Wittman slightly below the curve in regard to the team's overall accuracy. The Big Red are connecting on 43.4 percent of their three- pointers, staggering to stay the least, and they are netting 75.8 ppg while holding opponents to 63.4 ppg on 41.8 percent shooting from the floor. Louis Dale, Cornell's point guard, provides 12.6 ppg and 144 assists against a mere 66 turnovers. As for Jeff Foote, a 7-0 center, he checks in with 12.4 ppg and 8.1 rpg. Taking a look at the 18-point win over Wisconsin, the Big Red shot a stellar 61.1 percent from the floor, including 8-of-15 from three-point range. Dale led the charge with 26 points, and Wittman added 24 points. Foote and Chris Wroblewski pitched in 12 points apiece for Cornell, which earned a 29-21 rebounding advantage and only committed eight turnovers.
Kentucky freshmen John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins may be the two most talented players in the nation. Wall, a dynamic point guard who recently garnered SEC Player of the Year honors, is scoring 16.8 ppg to go along with 228 assists and 60 steals. As for Cousins, a bullish power forward, he is posting 15.1 ppg and 10.0 rpg to complement his 67 blocked shots. Fellow forward Patrick Patterson is sometimes overshadowed by the rookies, but his 14.6 ppg and 7.2 rpg shouldn't be overlooked. The third freshman starter in the fold is Eric Bledsoe who brings 11.4 ppg to the floor. Kentucky is posting 80.1 ppg while limiting opponents to 65.3 ppg on 37.9 percent shooting. In the 30-point blowout of Wake Forest, it was Darius Miller, the only starter not averaging double figures in scoring, who led the squad with 20 points. Cousins added 19 points and eight boards for the Wildcats, who shot 60.3 percent from the field and limited Wake to 32.8 percent efficiency [...]
Kentucky 85, Cornell 71