UK-NKU preview: Game/TV info; story/video links; predictions
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Here is a look at Friday's UK-NKU NCAA Tournament South Region first-round basketball game:
No. 6-SEED UK (29-5) vs. No. 15 NKU (24-10)
WHEN/WHERE: 9:40 p.m. in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis.
OPENING LINE: UK by 20.
RADIO/TV: WCKY-AM (1530, UK broadcast) and WKRC-AM (550, NKU broadcast)/WKRC-TV (Local 12).
NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET: Click here for a printable bracket.
PREDICTION: UK 84, NKU 64. This will be the best team NKU has played. It did battle a very talented West Virginia team for a half before falling on the road 92-61 back in December. NKU has improved significnalty since then. The UK backcourt of De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk will present a very daunting for challenge for NKU as will the Wildcats' size inside. NKU sophomore forward Drew McDonald does present a bit of a matchup problem for UK though because he can step outside and shoot the three. The Norse need a big game from Lavone Holland, who has been spectacular of late, and for senior Cole Murray to make some deep threes.
UK BEST-CASE NCAA SCENARIO: NCAA Champion. The Wildcats have some holes, and don't always defend well, but they have an elite backcourt and enough talent around them to make a deep run. The road is very difficult though; a possible Sweet 16 game with UCLA; a possible Elite Eight game with North Carolina; a possible Final Four matchup with Kansas or Louisville and take your pick of any number of tough teams on the other side (Villanova, Duke, Gonzaga and Arizona).
UK WORST-CASE NCAA SCENARIO: Losing in the second round. It's highly doubtful the Wildcats lose this game, but it's possible that either Wichita State or Dayton could beat them in the second round. That would mark a second straight second-round exit if that happens, and that's won't be acceptable for Big Blue Nation.
NKU BEST/WORSE SCENARIO: There simply is no bad scenario for NKU as making the tournament in the first year it is eligible is a significant accomplishment. Best case is the Norse make UK sweat for awhile, but a win will be very, very difficult.
TOP 10 STORY AND VIDEO LINKS:
- Local12.com: Skinner column - Complete NCAA tournament bracket picks
- Local12.com: Numerous stories on both teams at our NCAA Tournament central page
- Local12.com: UK PHOTO GALLERY: Season's worth of photos
- Local12.com: NKU took a road to basketball success
- Local12.com: Skinny Podcast - Breaking down pairings with Rick Broering and Chad Brendel
- Local12.com/AP: A look at the matchup (includes press conference video for both teams)
- Local12.com: Capsule on two teams, includes coach and school NCAA Tournament history
- Lexington Herald-Leader (Kentucky,com): UK coverage
- UKAthletics.com: UK team website
- NKUNorse.com: NKU basketball team website