“How Wisconsin can beat Kentucky” – by Bobby Hurley

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Jersey City native and Duke All-American, Bobby Hurley, shares below how Wisconsin can beat almighty undefeated Kentucky at this years Final Four. Hurley played in 3 Final Fours and won back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992. He was the floor general that toppled undefeated UNLV and Michigan’s FAB Five. With that resume it’s clear that when Hurley speaks people should listen…

It can be done.

When my Duke team beat UNLV in 1991 in the Final Four — coincidentally, also in Indianapolis — we went in there with a different perspective. We were not just happy to be there, and I’m pretty sure the Wisconsin kids are not overwhelmed with excitement about being in the Final Four.

I would imagine they would be very determined. They have to put some pressure on Kentucky. That was the key thing we did. We jumped out early on UNLV. We made a statement early in that game, “We’re here to play,” and we kept it a pretty tight game throughout.

I think it’s going to be a very close game. That would be my guess. I like Wisconsin’s toughness. I like their skill level on offense. They’re obviously very well-coached. They’ve been here before and they know what it’s all about, and they have one of the best players in the country, if not the best player, in [Frank] Kaminsky.

We couldn’t guard him or we didn’t do a good job of guarding him. He had 25 [points] and 11 [rebounds] and six blocks against us. It was probably the most impressive performance against our team this year from any one individual player.

I was impressed the way they use Kaminsky on offense. The advantage Kentucky has is they have Willie Cauley-Stein. Wisconsin has been able to force mismatches with Kaminsky a lot, because he can post you up if they put a smaller guy on him, or if he has a bigger guy on him Wisconsin plays him away from the basket. Cauley-Stein covers both of those areas very well. He can play both post defense at a high level and he can move his feet very well away from the basket.

I don’t even know if they would put Cauley-Stein on him. I would assume they would. That would be a matchup that would be fun to watch.

I expect Kentucky to get tested. The thing that’s impressive about them is when they’ve been in a jam and been in a tight game, like they have been, they’ve won. I watched some of their game against Georgia and I watched their game with Notre Dame, where they were challenged and they faced a deficit, and they had to respond. And they found a way to win. That showed me a lot. They’ve shown the ability to win those kinds of games.

I think it’s going to be a one-, two-possession game down the stretch. Wisconsin has the core of players that could pull it off, but I just think Kentucky, if they’re playing their best game, it’s hard to imagine that they would lose.

Wisconsin has to try to control the tempo of the game as much as possible — not allowing Kentucky to get out in the open court. The Wildcats are very explosive. They separated from us in a flash. They turn you over and then they’re scoring and they’re right back on you again with their defense and their size.
Wisconsin has to control the pace, have good possessions on offense, selectively run, because you need to try to score sometimes when their defense isn’t set, and then they have to take care of the ball. They’ve been one of the better teams not turning it over. I think it will be key to rebound and try to hang in on the backboards with Kentucky and not letting them get second-chance points.

I just think they have to protect the paint as much as they can and force Kentucky to win by shooting jump shots against them, keeping those guys out of the lane as best as they can and limiting the amount of points they give up in the paint. That’s where they kill you, with their size and their ability to slash and get to the rim.

Kentucky is a very, very talented, very gifted defensive team. I think that Wisconsin can stay in the game and they very well could pull it off, if Kentucky is not playing at its best. They just have so much size and athletic ability and depth. They’re very unique. They’re obviously, for good reason, a heavy favorite.

The only teams I saw that could beat Kentucky are in the Final Four right now. I thought Wisconsin, if they played very well and Kentucky was not quite at its best, that Wisconsin could do it. And I thought Duke could do it. Those two teams are both there.

Credit- NY Post and Zach Braziller






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