Kentucky, Baylor back in familiar territory

By Paul Newberry

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 24 2012 9:22 a.m. MDT

Baylor's Pierre Jackson reacts to being fouled by Xavier during the second half of an NCAA tournament South Regional semifinal college basketball game Friday, March 23, 2012, in Atlanta.

John Bazemore, Associated Press

ATLANTA — Well, this looks familiar. Kentucky is back in a regional final. So is Baylor.

The top-seeded Wildcats moved another step closer to the only goal that matters in the Bluegrass State, shaking off a rather quiet night from freshman star Anthony Davis to put away stubborn Indiana 102-90 at the South Regional on Friday.

Next up for Kentucky: Those neon-clad Bears, who advanced to their second regional final in three years with a 75-70 victory over Xavier.

"We're just looking forward to go a little farther and make a little history," said Baylor's Quincy Acy, pointing toward Sunday's game at the Georgia Dome.

Kentucky coach John Calipari knows a national title is expected — no, demanded — of his team. Anything less would be considered a disappointment, at least among the Wildcat faithful.

Calipari would prefer his young team simply enjoy the ride.

"I want them to have fun," he said. "I don't want them to feel all this. It seems there's only one team that's not allowed to lose in this tournament, and that's us. It's not true, and I don't want them feeling all of that."

The Wildcats (35-2) sure looked as if they were having fun against Indiana, which got into a running contest with a team that was a little faster, a little stronger and just a little too good.

Kentucky finished with its most points since a 108-58 victory over Marist in the season opener.

"I like a game like that," Calipari said. "I can't stand a game in the 50s. Can't stand coaching it, can't stand watching it."

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 24 points, Doron Lamb 21 and three of their teammates — not Davis, mind you — were in double figures. With that, the Wildcats dispatched the team that beat them back in early December.

"I feel like we did a pretty good job," said Kentucky's Darius Miller, who added 19 points. "So did Indiana. It was a very intense game. It was up and down for the most part. It was a fun game to be a part of, the way that both teams played."

Davis wasn't his usual dominating self after picking up two early fouls. He finished with nine points and 12 rebounds, so it was left to another of Kentucky's super freshmen to take the starring role.

Kidd-Gilchrist had a double-double, also snatching 10 rebounds.

"In the huddles during timeouts, Michael was the guy firing us up," teammate Twany Beckham said. "It showed with his play."

Marquis Teague chipped in with 14 points and Terrence Jones 12.

Christian Watford had 27 points to lead the Hoosiers (27-9), who beat Kentucky 73-72 before Christmas but ended a comeback season with a loss to their border rival. Still, there was nothing to ashamed of, coming up two victories shy of the Final Four after winning a total of 28 games the previous three seasons.

Clearly, Indiana has regained its usual place among the college basketball bluebloods under coach Tom Crean.

"I know when I first got here it was rough for this program," guard Victor Oladipo said. "We've been through a lot of ups and downs. Now that we've brought it all together, it's a bright future for this program."

But Big Blue is moving on this year.

"They're a really good team," Crean said. "They've got a lot of guys. They've got a guy coming off the bench (Miller) who's going to be a first-round draft pick."

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