After rough start, Faulkner playing big role at NKU

The game can be watched on CBS with Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson (sideline) calling the action.

It's also will mark just the second time in tournament two teams with 30 or more wins will meet in the second round of the prestigious event.

It marks only the second time in NCAA Tournament history that two 30-win clubs have met on the first weekend. The Wildcats enjoyed a 16-8 advantage in points in the paint, 9-2 in points off turnovers and 8-0 in fast-break points. It'll be rematch from the 2014 NCAA Tournament, when Kentucky ended Wichita State's undefeated season. "You've got three or four seconds really to get back, cut the ball off, and get the ball stopped and get in our set defense which is where we think we're pretty good", Wichita State freshman guard Landry Shamet said. Derek Willis had a solid tournament averaging six points and seven rebounds while fellow senior Dominique Hawkins played some of the best basketball of his career.

Outside of Wildcats die-hards, maybe we should all root for Nothern Kentucky - owner of the best nickname/mascot in this year's NCAA Tournament according to this non-scientific study - when the program faces No. 2 seed Kentucky this week.

"I think the kids are excited about the prospect of being in the Lexington Region", UK head coach Matthew Mitchell said.

Marshall showed his team video of the 2014 game despite the nearly total roster turnover just to demonstrate how Wichita State countered Kentucky's size and athleticism.

John Calipari has been wanting his team to play more physical most of the season. That will not work against Wichita State Sunday, starting around 2:40 Bankers' Life Fieldhouse.

Most times, the Shockers wouldn't hesitate to plunge into a game of fast breaks and running and gunning. North Carolina earned the top seed in the Wildcats' bracket while Gonzaga, Villanova, and Kansas were awarded with the other No. 1 seeds.

"It was a very historic game against two very good teams", Wichita State junior guard Conner Frankamp said.

But this game will not be about pretty plays. You're playing the best teams in the country.

"We have a three-headed monster at the five", Marshall said. Malik Monk can turn on like a light switch and drop 30 points in a half while Bam Adebayo has only continued to follow the curve of steady improvement during his freshman season.

Going into the second round, Calipari knows Wichita State will have revenge on its mind after the Wildcats defeated the Shockers in this event three years ago. I was at Louisville (assistant, 2011-13) before we came here and we played them as well. The Norse finished third in the Horizon League but went on to win the conference tournament to get this bid. Still, it's going to be hard for anybody to slow down the dynamic backcourt the Wildcats trot out and the Norse tend to struggle with some of the little things - like free throw shooting and rebounding - that you need if you want to pull off a shocker. After guiding Owen County to a school-record 29 victories, Williams was tabbed Kentucky's top player a year ago.

  • Julie Sanders